The Center for Contemporary Opera Presents Two Monodramas: Black Water by Jeremy Beck and Falling Man by Kenneth Fuchs
Jeremy Beck, composer
Based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates
Laura Bohn, Soprano
Lidiya Yankovskaya, Conductor
Eugenia Arsenis, Stage Director
In 1969, the dead body of a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, was discovered inside an overturned car in a channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. The car belonged to Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, who did not report the late-night incident to police authorities until the following morning. After the discovery, Kopechne’s body was recovered from the submerged car and Kennedy gave a statement to police saying that during the previous night, she was his passenger when he took a wrong turn and accidentally drove his car off a bridge and into the water. After pleading guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury, Kennedy received a sentence of two months in jail, which was suspended. The incident became a national scandal, and may have influenced Kennedy’s decision not to campaign for President of the United States in 1972 and 1976.
Black Water is a slightly-veiled fictional account of these events. Scored for soprano and piano, the monodrama requires the performers to assume multiple roles and states of mind (following the variety of levels created by Oates). The work is presented almost completely from the point of view of the drowning woman: in reality, in flashback, in dreams and in hallucinations.
Called “an original voice celebrating music” by MusicWeb International (2009), Jeremy Beck’s music has been described by NewMusicBox (2012) as “rhythmically intricate, and making nods to the past while sitting squarely in the present. … Though architecturally rigorous, Beck writes clearly and without pretense.” Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Beck’s music has been presented by New York City Opera, American Composers Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa, Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra, Peabody Opera, Yale Opera, the Dallas Festival of Modern Music, IonSound Project, and the Nevsky String Quartet, among others. A graduate of Yale, Duke and Mannes, his music is available on the Innova label. www.BeckMusic.org
Kenneth Fuchs, composer
Text by Don DeLillo, adapted by J. D. McClatchy
Conceived for the stage by David Krane
Jarrett Ott, Baritone
David Krane, Conductor
Eugenia Arsenis, Stage Director
Don DeLillo‘s powerful post-9/11 novel Falling Man captures the first moments of the global tremor that has forever reconfigured our emotional landscape, our memory, and our perception of the world. A man stumbles out of the falling rubble of the World Trade Center and fatefully witnesses the raw terror and absolute chaos of the shocking and world-changing events of the morning of September 11, 2001.
Kenneth Fuchs has composed music for orchestra, band, voice, chorus, and various chamber ensembles. With Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson, Fuchs created three chamber musicals, The Great Nebula in Orion, A Betrothal, and Brontosaurus, originally presented by Circle Repertory Company in New York City. The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, has recorded four discs of Fuchs’s music for Naxos American Classics; they have earned three GRAMMY® Award nominations. The fourth disc, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, features a program of vocal music based on texts by Don DeLillo, John Updike, and William Blake. Gramophone magazine featured the disc in its Awards Issue (October 2014), citing “expressive warmth and colour” and “glowing evocations of the words.” Fuchs is Professor of Music Composition at the University of Connecticut. At The Juilliard School, his teachers included Milton Babbitt, David Diamond, and Vincent Persichetti.