Critic’s Choice

Wed Apr 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm


Philip Glass’s 1980 work A Madrigal Opera hasn’t had the recognition or performances of its predecessor Einstein on the Beach, but fans of Glass’s music consider it an important transitional work in the composer’s career.  Echoes of his motoric minimalism of the 1970s jostle with expressive passages anticipating Glass’s later Koyaanisqatsi.

The work could be titled “Six Singers in Search of an Opera,” because no story is specified in the score, only musical numbers.  Glass left it up to the director and cast of each production to come up with a narrative that links the music together. Saturday night at National Sawdust, director and artist-in-residence R. B. Schlather and singers from the group Choral Chameleon will realize their own concept of Glass’s imaginary opera, accompanied (in the manner of 17th-century madrigals) by just one or two instrumental parts, played by violinist Johnny Gandelsman and violist William Frampton.

A Madrigal Opera by Philip Glass, directed by R. B. Schlather, will be performed by Choral Chameleon and instrumentalists 7 p.m. Saturday at National Sawdust, Brooklyn.; 646-779-8455.

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