My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..
The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..
Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..
One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..
Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..
If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..
Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..
Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..
We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..
“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..
With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..
Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..
Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..
It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..
The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..
Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..
It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..
As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..
Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..
There were a few big bangs that happened when Carson Kievman, Ph.D., first began work on his chamber opera, Intelligent Systems, 35 years ago. For starters, there was Stephen Hawking’s research on the Big Bang theory and the transformative nature of the universe. There was a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1980 (“when the NEA funded those kinds of things,” remarks Kievman) and a commission from Germany’s Donaueschingen Festival in 1982 to develop a new work.
“This was the first opera they ever commissioned," says Kievman about Donaueschingen, one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals of new music. “They had worked with composers like (Igor) Stravinsky, (Maurice) Ravel before the war, and after the war (Oliver) Messiaen and (György) Lagetti, but they had never done an opera before. Unbeknownst to them, they weren't going to get your traditional opera,” says Kievman.
They never did get Intelligent Systems. The opera needed more than the technology of the 20th century could provide to realize Kievman’s vision. Now the multi-media work has arrived. It’s “finally revised, updated and ready to be done,” says Kievman.
Intelligent Systems: The Surrender of Self in Mystical Contemplation gets its world premiere in the Little Stage Theater at SoBe Arts on Miami Beach on June 5 and runs through June 14.
“I couldn’t do what I wanted to do back then. It is truly a multi-media work and what it requires to work as a piece are projections that are almost as important as the singers and the music itself.”
While staging last year’s world premiere of his original work Fairy Tales, Songs of the Dandelion Woman, it dawned on him that the projections he required in that piece held the key to the fate of Intelligent Systems. He says he realized through the projection design by Alain Lores and with the advent of digital mapping that some of the more complicated, and expensive, requirements of Intelligent Systems would no longer present a challenge. “The digital mapping not only allows projections, but literally can map to every inch of the space.” The problem of elaborate costuming, too, which would have been prohibitively expensive in his original production (Kievman had hired well-known opera costume designer Robert Israel to create the costumes for his original, but the costs were astronomical) has been solved with the digital mapping, too. “Now we can put the singers in white costumes and digital map the costumes themselves.”
Kievman describes the 90-minute musical work as an integration of sonic and visual images. “The audience becomes passengers in a trip to time and space in a parallel universe.”
The composer/librettist storyboarded his creation as a series of natural catastrophies that occur over billions of years. There’s the development of civilization and a progression to a man-made catastrophe followed by a post-apocalyptic speculation about what a future species might look and act like.
"Intelligent Systems is first and foremost an opera, so even though there is this amazing story of traveling through time and space, the music is primary and what makes it an opera. The music is very intricate in that it follows this constant transformation of all the things that are happening, which makes it interesting and beautiful and even scary in some places.”
Six singers and 14 musicians bring Intelligent Systems to life along with a dozen or more people on the creative and projection team. Director Jeffrey Marc Buchman says there were many challenges in creating the world of Intelligent Systems inside the small space of SoBe Arts, but that his best decision when approaching the piece was to “embrace” the small black box instead of fight against it.
“When I read the story and thought of the kind of space we would be doing this in, I knew that we had to create something in a way that blends the singers into the projections. And there are so many things going on inside the projections as well, so I looked for something that would pull those ideas out. I did this with lighting, props and found a way to physically bring it into the room,” says Buchman, who knows a thing or two about how to work creatively in small and unusual spaces. He directed Andy Vores’ chamber opera No Exit for Florida Grand Opera inside the NoWhere Lounge, an actual bar/lounge, last March.
Buchman says choreography is also vital to having all of the elements come together in Intelligent Systems. “This is the kind of piece that has to take the audience on a deep journey. Part of that is in the movement,” and he credits choreographer Rosa Mercedes with her skill in working with the singers. “It is so vital to the piece in the way that they have to move.”
Kievman hopes that audiences who experience what he says is a “one-of-a-kind-theatrical event,” will realize that his opera reaches a degree of communication beyond the usual opera/music-theater experience. And 35 years after Kievman’s first attempt, his cutting-edge work could be part of the creation of a whole new conversation around what opera in the 21st century looks like.
“When we do these kinds of multi-faceted pieces, it really does redefine opera and it redefines where we’re moving towards as composers envision presenting works in new and interesting ways,” says Buchman.
Intelligent Systems: the Surrender of Self in Mystical Contemplation runs June 4 through 14 at SoBeArts, Carl Fisher Clubhouse, Little Stage Theater, 2100 b Washington Ave., Miami Beach. June 4 is an open dress rehearsal with the World Premiere opening on Friday, June 5. Performances are 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday; 305-674-9220. www.sobearts.org.
El segundo programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) dedicado a los 100 años del nacimiento de Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), el gran coreógrafo norteamericano que triunfó ..
2017 fue un buen año para la danza en Miami. El Flamenco Festival nos permitió volver a ver a Jesús Carmona, el Internacional Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) sobrevivió al huracán Irma, Dance..
El Miami City Ballet (MCB) presentó por fin en el Arsht Center la nueva producción de su gran espectáculo navideño, el “Cascanueces” de Tchaikovsky y Balanchine, ahora con diseños origin..
La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..
El programa que Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) presentó el sábado pasado en su exitoso debut como compañía en residencia del South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC) y a solo ..
Hay pocos artistas que han tenido el impacto en sus disciplinas como el guitarrista Paco De Lucía tuvo en flamenco. En este género, hay un antes y después de De Lucía. Expandió el vocabul..
Dance NOW! Miami, la Florida Dance Education Organization (FDEO), Miami Dance Futures y la New World School of the Arts (NWSA) colaboraron el fin de semana pasado para presentar la Daniel Lew..
Esta es una gran noticia para el público amante del ballet en Miami. Tras un paréntesis de diez años en los que solo nos visitó de manera esporádica, la Primera Bailarina mexicana Katia Carra..
Solo hay que aplicar el concepto “seis grados de separación” a uno de los artistas que se han presentado en las Galas de Estrellas del Festival Internacional de Ballet de Miami (IBFM por sus ..