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Lotus Lives, a Chamber Opera

An Opera in One Act for Mezzo-soprano, Soprano, Brass Quintet, and Percussion
Friday, September 30, 2011, at 8:00 P.M.
Sunday, October 2, 2011, at 3:00 P.M.,
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall, Middlebury College     PRESS RELEASE

Related Events

Thursday, September 29, 8 p.m., Chellis House
Pizza & Poetry: Reading from the White Trash Pantheon
Anne Babson, award-winning poet and librettist of Su Lian Tan’s chamber opera “Lotus Lives,” will be reading from her collection entitled “The White Trash Pantheon,” which sets the myths of ancient Greece in the American heartland.  Filled with vernacular twang and humor gleaned from hthe deep South, combined with the high-literary sensibilities of a clacissist, these works have been featured on radio broadcasts as well as in Iowa Review, Cider Press Review, Connecticut Review. as well as other journals.  Theyslap snooty smirks off the faces of any neo-classical predecessors in literature while breaking new ground in American feminist verse.

Friday, September 30, 12:15 p.m., Chellis House
"Cross-cultural Commonalities: Women Working Collaboratively to Create Art that Speaks to Multiple Identities"
Lunchtime talk by Anne Babson (University of Mississippi)
“Lotus Lives” tells the story of the artificiality demanded of Chinese-American women—and perhaps of all women. Their upbringing and the traditional education of girls alienate them from their true selves.  “Lotus Lives” offers hope to those who would overcome stereotypes.
Sponsored by the Women's & Gender Studies Program-Chellis House, Women's Resource Center

"From Idea to Art"
Tim Bartlett ‘98, video set design, and Su Lian Tan, composer, will give an informal talk on creating and composing Lotus Lives. From the initial inspiration to the rendering of ideas in musical and visual form, they will elucidate the process, including the communication between them that was involved. Images and music from the opera will be shown and discussed. Following this presentation, there will be the opportunity to ask questions of the artists.
Saturday, October 1, 4:00 pm
Concert Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts - free

"Glimpsing the Ephemeral"

Stephen Whiteman, Visiting assistant Professor, History of Art, Middlebury College, will briefly discuss themes relating to memory and identity in the opera "Lotus Lives" and in its staging before moderating a discussion with Su Lian Tan, composer, Tim Bartlett ‘98, set designer, and Arika Yamada, dancer, on the topic.
Sunday, October 2, 2:15 pm
Concert Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts - Free


lotus_image_1

Lotus Lives is a bold experiment in opera. This new work tells the story of the artificiality demanded of Chinese-American women—and perhaps of all women. Their upbringing and the traditional education of girls alienates them from their true selves.

 

Lotus Lives offers hope to those who would overcome stereotypes.

 

The music composed by Su Lian Tan incorporates elements of rap, Chinese folk music, and dance club music into its lovely, high-art classical melodies.  The libretto, written by award-winning poet Anne Babson, is non-linear—designed to reveal itself like a lotus flower opening—and filled with moments of humor and triumph, including vignettes from club VIP lounges, as well as a Chinese folktale as a parable.

Like its subject, Lotus Lives offers seemingly contradictory elements blended into a delicious and exuberant romp.

 


 

Composer: Su Lian Tan
Librettist: Anne Babson
Conductor: Evan Bennett
Visuals and Set Design: Tim Bartlett '98
Director: Claudio Medeiros '90
Brenda Patterson, mezzo-soprano
Miriam Gordon-Stewart, soprano
Music by the Meridian Arts Ensemble
David Bowlin, violin
Arika Yamada: choreographer, dancer
Denys Drozdyuk, dancer
Sonia Hsieh '10: dancer, actor

 


 

Some comments about the performance in development:

“It rocked the house!”
“So inspiring.”
“You should perform it over and over again – as many times as possible.”
“This is going to do amazing things for Chinese women around the world.”


If you would like to read more....

 


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