AH! at REDCAT

This sounds like a pretty interesting show.

This September, REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) transforms its flexible performance space into an immersive visual and sonic environment for the world premiere of AH!, a co-production of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and the CalArts Center for New Performance. AH! opens Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at REDCAT and runs for a limited engagement through Friday, September 18, 2009.

Standard theatrical seating is absent as audience members are invited into an intimate arena of sound, experiencing what the creators describe as an “opera no-opera.” Composed and performed live by creators from across the Americas, Europe and East Asia, this pioneering collaboration emerged from A Counterpoint of Tolerance, a special project of the Transatlantic Arts Consortium (TAC) led by composer-performer David Rosenboom and award-winning poet Martine Bellen.

Drawing inspiration from the classic Buddhist text, the Diamond SutraAH! is a celebratory passage across musical cultures and times: a polyglot clarion call for understanding and unity in today’s globalized, increasingly interconnected world. Rosenboom and Bellen describe AH! as “Interwebbing variations, narrative actions, story woven into story form, one song, one story, one song-story story-song, one opera no-opera. Is it Electronic? Static Buzz? Rock? Jazz? Eastern? Western? Northern? Southern? Post-Modern? Pre-Modern? Experimental Funk? Zen Hip Hop? Genre-blind? Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Performing in more than 13 different languages and on a variety of Latin American, East Asian and Western instruments, including an eleven piece lap-top orchestra, the collaborating composer-performers who comprise A Counterpoint of Tolerance are Iván Caramés Bohigas (Spain), Michael Foumai (US-Hawaii), Alex Kotch (US-North Carolina), Claudio Maldonado (Argentina-Patagonia), Vedran Mehinovic (Bosnia), Natalie Oram (UK), Doo Jin Park (Korea), Jerónimo Rachenberg (Mexico), Diana Syrse Valdés Rosado (Mexico), and Xiaolang Zhou (China). Joining them at REDCAT, along with David Rosenboom and Martine Bellen, is an exceptional cast of musicians, theatermakers and interactive artists under the direction of Travis Preston, who stages this exceptional music event with production designer Christopher Barreca, choreographer Mira Kingsley, lighting designer Laura Mrczkowski, and video designer Jeremiah Thies.

Spinning off a mandala of 13 extraordinary and ordinary modern-life stories, this spellbinding opera brings together ingenious stagecraft, flights of phenomenal musicianship, and an array of robotic and interactive musical technologies, Musical robots, 3-D sound-speaker pods, a piano outfitted with Multi-Laser Gestural Controllers, and a Laser Tetrahedron Music Controller suspended in the theater have been imagined, developed, and utilized for this immersive visual and aural experience. More information about these technologies is described at www.ah-opera.org, where the audience is invited to engage with and contribute to AH! before, during and after the performances at REDCAT. Via the website, mobile media, and an interactive, multi-touch BriK table in REDCAT’s lobby, the audience can take part in the creation of this interactive opera no-opera, contributing sounds and words which are being collected with the intention of making them visible and audible during the performances.

A Counterpoint of Tolerance is a project commissioned by the Transatlantic Arts Consortium (TAC). This production of AH! is made possible with generous support from TAC, The Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Judith O. and Robert E. Rubin, and Abby Sher.

AH! runs September 16-18, 2009 at REDCAT.  Performances take place Wednesday-Friday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, with student discounts available. Seating is general admission. Tickets and information at the REDCAT box office, 213-237-2800 or www.redcat.org.

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