The Difficulty of Crossing a Field
Composer: David Lang
Composer Bio: Passionate, prolific, and complicated, composer David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. Lang is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms.

Many of Lang's pieces resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. His catalogue is extensive, and his opera, orchestra, chamber, and solo works are by turns ominous, ethereal, urgent, hypnotic, unsettling, and very emotionally direct. Much of his work seeks to expand the definition of virtuosity in music — even the deceptively simple pieces can be fiendishly difficult to play and require incredible concentration by musicians and audiences alike.
Librettist: Marc Wellman
Librettist Bio: Mac Wellman is an award-winning playwright. In 2003, he received his third Obie for Lifetime Achievement. Previous published collections include Bad Infinity and Cellophane, and he is the coeditor of New Downtown Now: An Anthology of New Theater from Downtown New York (Minnesota, 2006). He is professor of playwriting at Brooklyn College. Known for his verbal invention and radical experimentation, Mac Wellman is one of America’s most original and essential dramatists. Since seizing the spotlight with 7 Blowjobs in the early nineties, Wellman has charted an ambitious artistic course. As a fixture on the downtown New York theater scene, and now with his work being staged around the world, he has challenged directors, designers, producers, actors, audiences, and readers for nearly three decades.
Original Cast: Julia Migenes
Anika Noni Rose
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: March 22, 2002
Producing Company: The American Conservatory Theater for the Kronos Quartet
Description: A slave owner in the pre-civil war American South walks across his field and disappears, in plain view of his family, his neighbors and his slaves, forever altering the relationships among them. Everyone around him has his or her own sharp view of what that disappearance means, of why it had to happen, and of what will happen now that there is a "hole" where a man used to be. Based on a one page story by the writer Ambrose Bierce, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field was commissioned by Carey Perloff and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. It was intended to cross between opera and theater worlds, mixing arias with spoken text, emotional melodies with intense drama. It is written for 5 principals and a chorus of 6 or more slaves, and the accompaniment is for string quartet on stage, both as the "orchestra" and as part of the set.
Character List (Major): Soprano, Mezzo soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass
Length: 01:15
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: Small Choir
Contact: Red Poppy
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
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Phone: 212-254-2100
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Lang)
Sunday, June 22, 2014 - Long Beach Opera
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Lang)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - Long Beach Opera
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