Invisible Cities World Premiere
An Opera by Christopher Cerrone; based on the novel by Italo Calvino.
“Perhaps the most satisfying piece on the program was Christopher Cerrone’s opera-in-progress, Invisible Cities, a series of arresting musical moments exploring Italo Calvino’s novel. The harmonies were consistently rich and the music thoughtfully illuminated the text.”
– Daniel Stephen Johnson for the New Haven Advocate, Dec. 3, 2009
Christopher Cerrone, a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the Yale School of Music, winner of the 2010 Boston Metro Opera Concert Award and a 2010 Morton Gould Young Composer Award, among other notable prizes, was strongly drawn to Calvino’s novel by its exploration of the ideas of self, time, environment and longing, through the richly imagined relationship of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo: “Calvino’s Invisible Cities first appealed to me because of its visceral language and its unique structure, half novel, half short story collection. I was deeply inspired by the idea of creating a work inspired by these vivid and varied snapshots of cities, life and longing.”
Scored for idiosyncratic chamber orchestra with traditional classical instruments and electronics, four amplified solo vocalists and choir (variously singing operatically and with straight tone,) staged with projected video art and dramatically set with a libretto adapted directly from the novel’s text,
Cerrone’s Invisible Cities is as reflective of Calvino's original work as it is of our own vivid, richly-informed, hypersaturated world.
The resulting music, with its strong visual and literary elements, and avant-garde, baroque opera, electronic and minimalist influences, is by turns spare and lush, and exceptionally beautiful.
The Invisible Cities production team includes director LOUISA PROSKE, music director TED HEARNE, video artist LAURA GREY, costume designer MARK NAGLE and dramaturgy by CHRISTIANA LITTLE.
The cast includes JOSHUA COPELAND as Kublai Khan, JAMES BENJAMIN RODGERS as Marco Polo, MELLISSA HUGHES and RACHEL CALLOWAY, and the EKMELES vocal ensemble led by JEFFERY GAVETT.
The performing ensemble, RED LIGHT NEW MUSIC, is a critically acclaimed New York-based composers collective/concert series/new music band, of which Cerrone is an artistic director (with SCOTT WOLLSCHLEGER, LIAM ROBINSON and VINCENT RAIKHEL,) and co-founder.
Invisible Cities is a dynamic and compelling portrait of modern life, a musical work born of the vibrant American new music scene, produced and performed by young musicians and presenters unbound by strict genre, informed by many traditions.
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Other current projects include a New York Youth Symphony-commissioned violin concerto, Still Life, to be performed on March 13, 2011 by Hahn-Bin with the NYYS at Carnegie Hall; a new one-act opera for American Lyric Theatre (where Cerrone is currently a composer-in-residence), to be premiered at New York City’s Symphony Space; and a new trombone quartet for the New York-based ensemble Guidonian Hand.
Cerrone’s concert works have been performed in the US, Europe, and Asia, by the Orchestre National de Lorraine (Metz, France), Flexible Music (New York), the New Music Institute at the Hochschule für Musik, Berlin, the Yale Philharmonia, the Manhattan Composers' Orchestra (New York), the New Music Collective (Charleston, SC,) the Grenzenlos Ensemble (New York/Berlin/Melbourne/Shanghai), the Zwo Concert series (Berlin), and throughout New York City, Europe and at the Kennedy Center with Red Light New Music.
Cerrone has won awards and grants including ASCAP’s 2010 Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a CAP Grant (2009) and CAP Recording Grant (2010) from the American Music Center, and the Yale School of Music’s Ezra Laderman Prize.
Cerrone is currently pursuing his doctorate at the Yale School of Music, where he studies with David Lang, Christopher Theofanidis, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, and Ingram Marshall. He has worked with composers including Pierre Boulez, Salvatore Sciarrino, Charles Wuorinen, Mark Adamo, Richard Danielpour, and Julia Wolfe, and received his undergraduate degree in 2007 from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Nils Vigeland and Reiko Fueting. An active performer and lecturer, Christopher Cerrone has appeared as a guest musician with Alarm Will Sound, TACTUS, and the Manhattan School Percussion Ensemble. He has taught music theory at the Manhattan School of Music, lectured on contemporary music at Columbia University and the Berlin University of the Arts, and has taught electronic music and composition at Yale College.
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"Christopher Cerrone's Seductive Headphone Opera 'Invisible Cities'" from WQXR.
Read more: Original Web Page
"In the intimate mock-Renaissance auditorium of Columbia University’s Italian Academy, Red Light New Music mounts a fully staged performance of a new opera by Cerrone, a rising star from the Yale School of Music, based on Italo Calvino’s novel."
From The New Yorker
reprint; original web page
"The composer collective Red Light New Music joins forces with Columbia University's Italian Academy to mount Christopher Cerrone's new opera, based on Italo Calvino's conceptual novel that reimagines the travels of Marco Polo."
From Time Out New York
reprint; original web page