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Inaugural Run AMOC! Festival Takes Over Harvard Square in December

Thursday Nov 16, 2017
A publicity still for "A Study on Effort."
A publicity still for "A Study on Effort."  

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Paulus and Executive Producer Diane Borger, announces that it will present the inaugural Run AMOC! Festival, performed by the new American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) December 15 - 18, 2017.

The festival features a collaboration between an internationally acclaimed dancer and award-winning violinist; duets staged as duels between three pairs of performers; and a musical meditation on the lives of black men and women lost as a result of police brutality over the past year. These newly developed pieces by AMOC artists will be performed at venues around Harvard Square in Cambridge.

AMOC is a brand-new opera company-comprised of a diverse collective of singers, dancers, instrumentalists, a director, and a composer-that aims to expand the definition and reach of opera in our world through collaborative, interdisciplinary work. Composer/conductor/pianist/poet Matthew Aucoin ("Crossing," Harvard '12), and director/choreographer/dancer Zack Winokur serve as Artistic Directors; Jennifer Chen (Harvard '11) is the new company's Managing Director. The three leaders all hail from Greater Boston.

"We're thrilled to give A.R.T. audiences the opportunity to get to know AMOC just as this exciting new collective bursts onto the scene," says A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus. "We've experienced the passion and virtuosity of many of these visionary artists firsthand, and I have no doubt that they will redefine opera through their new model of interdisciplinary collaboration."


Members of American Modern Opera Company (AMOC)

"A.R.T.'s fabulous creative team and I have already shared the epic journey of bringing an opera from conception to production so it feels natural for my newest endeavor to make its public debut at the A.R.T.," says AMOC Artistic Director Matthew Aucoin. "Our company of young, pioneering artists wants to change the way opera is produced and to expand the art form's definition and reach. By supporting our launch, A.R.T. continues its great tradition of nurturing new talent and giving it a platform upon which to run amok (or AMOC)."

The line-up includes (details below):

A STUDY ON EFFORT
An exploration of the connections between sound, body, and duration
Conceived by Bobbi Jene Smith | Performed by Bobbi Jene Smith and Keir GoGwilt.
Friday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 17 at 3 p.m.| Harvard Dance Center, (66 Garden Street, Cambridge).

"A Study on Effort" explores connections between sound, body, and duration. An hour-long dialogue between dancer Bobbi Jene Smith (formerly of Tel Aviv's Batsheva Dance Company and subject of Bobbi Jene, the Tribeca Film Festival's 2017 award winner for Best Documentary) and violinist Keir GoGwilt (soloist with the Chinese National Symphony, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, and others; Harvard '13), the piece transposes different physical and emotional tasks between music and movement, finding pleasure at the boundaries of the two artistic disciplines.

"A Study on Effort" was originally conceived by Bobbi Jene Smith in 2014 and has since had showings at Studio Varda, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Gibney Dance, and the Israel Museum. In 2016, Smith and GoGwilt collaborated on a new version of the show, which was presented at the 2016 Luminato Festival in Toronto and PS 122's COIL Festival in 2017. Please note: this performance contains nudity and is suitable for audiences 18+.

CAGE MATCH
Duels of virtuosity performed by pairs of artists from varied disciplines
Featuring Matthew Aucoin, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Miranda Cuckson, Keir GoGwilt, Conor Hanick, and Zack Winokur. Saturday, December 16 at 7 p.m. I OBERON.

Pairs of AMOC artists from various disciplines face off against one another in three rounds of virtuosity.

ROUND 1: Miranda Cuckson ("one of the most sensitive and electric interpreters of new music," Downbeat) and Keir GoGwilt (Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, Harvard '13) in a spectacle of violin duets by Georg Friedrich Telemann, Franco Donati, and Christian Wolff.

ROUND 2: Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo (winner of Plácido Domingo's international competition Operalia in 2012) and dancer Zack Winokur (creator of "La Calisto," "one of the most elegant and imaginations ive shows seen in New York [last] season," Opera News) in Claudio Monteverdi's "Poppea."

ROUND 3: Pianists Matthew Aucoin ("Crossing," Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, Harvard '12) and Conor Hanick (a pianist that "defies human description," Concerto Net; "a true champion of contemporary music," NPR) in two pieces for two pianos: John Adams' classic "Hallelujah Junction," and Aucoin's recent piece, "Finery Forge."

WERE YOU THERE
A music-theater meditation on the victims of police brutality
Performed by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter | Directed by Zack Winokur. Monday, December 18 at 8 p.m. | Loeb Drama Center.

"Were You There" is a musical mediation about moving from darkness to light and finding spiritual communion in an abstract memorial to the past year's victims of police brutality. Bass-baritone Davóne Tines ("Crossing," Harvard '09), accompanied by guest pianist Michael Schachter (Harvard '09), performs a set of songs ranging from Spirituals to a new piece composed by Matthew Aucoin ("Crossing," Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, Harvard '12). Schachter, Tines, and Winokur are currently developing a new music-theater piece with A.R.T. inspired by Langston Hughes' poem, "The Black Clown."

Tickets to all performances of the Run AMOC! Festival start at $25 and go on sale on Wednesday, November 15 by phone at 617-547-8300, in person at the Loeb Drama Center Ticket Services Office (64 Brattle Street, Harvard Square), or online at at this website. Discounts are available for A.R.T. Subscribers and Donors, students, seniors, Blue Star Families, EBT card holders, and others. Discounts are available when purchasing tickets to multiple festival events.

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