Elodie Lauten’s Opera Waking in New York – from the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg - Concert Performance

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Lower East Side Performing Arts (LESPA) and St. Mark’s Church present Waking in New York, the opera by Elodie Lauten and Allen Ginsberg, to be performed on Sunday, June 1 at 3:00 PM at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, 2nd Avenue and 10th Street in Manhattan. A YouTube webcast of the opera will be recorded and simulcast from the National Opera America Center on Friday, May 30 at 2pm and will remain available online.

“With Waking in New York, we are communicating an important message from Allen Ginsberg about New York; about tolerance, openness, humanity and compassion, about embracing diversity.”

In Lauten’s unique operatic setting, Ginsberg’s stream of consciousness weaves his introspection, observations, sensations, emotions, sexuality, humanity and spirituality into a New York City moment. Each scene is full of stories, characters and dramatic flashes deeply related to the very fabric of the city and painting a complex portrait of Ginsberg, culminating in his prayer for humanity: “That all beggars be fed, all dying medicined, all the loveless tomorrow be loved”. Characters include Allen and his muses, Freedom 1, Freedom 2 and Compassion, joined at the end by a chorus.

Typically, composers have used Ginsberg’s writing as spoken text over music. Waking in New York challenges this approach by setting the text melodically. Within Ginsberg’s style, every word is sung, even the most unlikely. Lauten says, “With Waking in New York, we are communicating an important message from Allen Ginsberg about New York; about tolerance, openness, humanity and compassion, about embracing diversity.” This final version of the opera is for 9 singers and 10 musicians, conducted by music director Kenneth Hamrick, with baritone Mark Duer in the lead role, sopranos Meredith Borden, Catherine Rothrock and Mary Hurlbut, flutist Andrew Bolotowsky, Mat Fieldes, on contrabass, Afro-Cuban percussionist Mustafa Ahmed, members of the American Virtuosi Orchestra, and the St Mark’s Church Chorus with Jeannine Otis.

Tickets are $15 /$10 Seniors/Students. For more information or reservations, call 212-388-0202 or visit http://www.elodielauten.net/ or http://www.lesperformingarts.org to order tickets online.

Elodie Lauten received the 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Composer and media artist, her 30+ releases, including 5 operas are available worldwide digitally. Her music has been presented by the Lincoln Center Festival, the New York City Opera, WNYC, The Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, La Mama, and Theater for the New City. Born in Paris, daughter of jazz composer Errol Parker, she has lived in downtown New York since the mid-70s when she met Allen Ginsberg. She is a classically trained pianist, studied voice and Indian music, graduated from NYU, and taught composition at NYU and CUNY. She is the artistic director and curator of Lower East Side Performing Arts.

Lower East Side Performing Arts (LESPA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2006, with a commitment to accessible programming, free or low cost, and to artistic excellence. LESPA encourages the creation of new work in contemporary music and musical theater. It facilitates the interface between diverse composers, artists, performers, especially women and low-income, multi-cultural communities. LESPA’s affordable programs show depth and humanity, and effectively address the complexity of our time, improving the quality of life and sense of community. http://www.lesperformingarts.org/.

Support for this event was provided by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Award to Elodie Lauten, The Fund for Creative Communities supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Allen Ginsberg Trust, and Materials for the Arts.

For photos or press inquiries, please contact Jeffrey James Arts Consulting at 516-586-3433 or jamesarts(at)att(dot)net.

This concert is ADA accessible. For MTA transportation information, visit http://tripplanner.mta.info/_start.aspx.

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