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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
Morton Feldman
Born in New York City, Feldman was a pioneer in aleatoric music and indeterminate music, and in music requiring improvisation. His works are characterized by quietness, slowness, and often by their extreme length, especially his later work.

At age 12 he began to write his own compositions. In 1949, Feldman met John Cage and developed an artistic association crucial to music in America in the 1950s. Cage encouraged Feldman to trust his instincts, advice which helped free Feldman to create his totally intuitive compositions. He has never used any formalized systems, working instead from moment to moment, from one sound to the next.

Other friends included composers Earle Brown and Christian Wolff; painters Mark Rothko, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg; and pianist David Tudor. The painters in particular influenced Feldman to search for his own sound world, one that was more immediate and more physical than any Feldman had explored. Feldman developed a graph notation form of music which relied heavily on player improvisation. Though he returned to precise notation in 1969, he remains notorious for his extremely long, indeterminate works. Feldman married composer Barbara Monk just before his death in 1987.
Samuel Beckett
An Irish writer, dramatist and poet, Beckett's work offers a bleak outlook on human culture and both formally and philosophically became increasingly minimalist. As a student, assistant, and friend of James Joyce, Beckett is considered by many one of the last modernists; as an inspiration to many later writers, he is sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. He is also considered one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called "Theatre of the Absurd." Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 citing his new forms for the novel and drama depicting the destitution of modern man. He died in Paris in 1989.
Marcello Panni (Conductor)
Kiera Duffy
May 13, 1977
Rome Opera
Neither is the product of two like-minded visionaries focused on a single theme: the endless and often hopeless quest for understanding of the self and the universe, as carried out within the flash of a single life.

This dramatic work is filled with passages that evoke numerous visions, machines churning away in subterranean depths, interstellar spaces haunted by distant sirens, wheels within wheels grinding down time and space in slow revolutions. Feldman's music creates a strange sense of presence, of place, and the imagination often seeks to populate it with familiar images.

Although Neither is frequently called an opera, it bears more relation to a "monodrama" than any conventional opera, rather than relying on the unfolding of a story to provide a sense of drama, Neither draws its authority from escalating musical tension, cycling between Beckett's stanzas as it spirals toward its "unspeakable home."
Village Voice, Tom Johnson,12-11-1978; Gramophone, Roger Thomas, 10-1998
Length is not available.
Jim Schaefer, CCO General Director
338 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011
Schedule of Performances Listings
Neither (Feldman)
Friday, March 25, 2011 - New York City Opera

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