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Bryce Dessner’s new work about Robert Mapplethorpe coming to BAM, L.A., D.C., more

(Self Portrait, 1988 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission)
(Self Portrait, 1988 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission)

Acclaimed and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is the subject of a new musical work by The National’s Bryce Dessner, titled Triptych (Eyes of One on Another):

Situated somewhere between erotic heat and cool classicism, the work of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe obliterates the high-low divide, exploding classical conceptions of beauty. Fueled by a lifelong fascination with the artist’s transgressive, sacred-profane vision, composer Bryce Dessner (The National), in collaboration with Korde Arrington Tuttle, and director Daniel Fish, and produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann, invites us to experience these arresting images anew. Featuring photographic projections and a new score by Dessner—performed by the daring nine-person vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and a chamber orchestra—’Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)’ examines how we look and are looked at, bringing us face to face with our innermost desires, fears, and humanity.

Triptych, which also features the poetry of Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, will first be performed as a concert at L.A. Philharmonic’s Disney Hall on March 5, and then it makes its theatrical world premiere at Ann Arbor, MI’s University Musical Society on March 16 & 17. It then comes to DC’s John F. Kennedy Center on April 6, and Brooklyn’s BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on June 6-8. Tickets for the BAM performances go on sale to the general public on December 11 with presales for BAM members and patrons beforehand.

In addition to Triptych, there are a couple of other related events happening at BAM: There’s a seminar, titled “Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection” and led by Jeanne Proust, on May 29 at BAM Fisher Hillman Studio; and Dessner, Fish and Tuttle will participate in a discussion titled “Mapplethorpe in Performance” on June 7 at BAM Hillman Attic Studio. More information on those and Triptych is here.

Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) – 2019 Performance Dates
March 5, 2019 – LA Phil, Disney Hall, Los Angeles, CA (World Premiere, Concert Version)
March 16-17, 2019 – University Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI (World Premiere, Theatrical Version)
April 6, 2019 – Direct Current, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC
June 6-8, 2019 – BAM, Brooklyn, NY

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