Two of the Brooklyn Academy of Arts' Next Wave Festival's stalwarts, composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson, join forces for the 1998 festival. Their new work, Monsters of Grace, marks their first collaboration since they famously came together in 1976 for the landmark, avant-garde opera Einstein on the Beach. The production has played in London, L.A. and elsewhere, but this production will mark its New York debut. The production closes the annual festival (Dec. 9-20), which runs this year Sept. 9 to Dec. 20.
In Monsters of Grace, which has been touring the world, Wilson's trademark stage images are buttressed by computer technology. Three dimensional images powered by supercomputers unfold in a large format 70mm film before an audience equipped with 3-D glasses. The special effects team behind the film Stargate have assisted Wilson with the show's visuals. As for the music, Glass had adapted the spiritual poetry of 13th-century Persian mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi. The libretto is sung in English by the Philip Glass Ensemble. A review of the show in the San Francisco Chronicle termed it "a glimpse of 21st century music theatre." Monsters of Grace will play at the BAM Opera House Dec. 9-20.
The Next Wave Festival opens in September with a return engagement of the French equestrian theatre company, Zingaro. The troupe of horses, riders, musicians, dancers and acrobats will present their latest show, Eclipse, at the Bigtop at Battery Park City in Manhattan Sept. 9-Nov. 1. Inspired by the pansori musical tradition of Korea, Zingaro presents a mix of dreamlike images with equestrian showmanship. The popular company sold out every show of its 1996 New York run.
Director Vasilios Calitsis returns to the rituals of ancient Greece for his new piece The World Mysteries: The Mysteries of Eleusis, which he conceived, wrote (with Tasos Roussos), and directs. The production reinterprets the Eleusian liturgical legends of 400 B.C. To tell his story, Calitsis enlists the theatrical traditions of Greek tragedy, Kabuki, Noh, Kathakali, Flamenco, and Chinese Opera. The show will be performed at the BAM Majestic Theater Oct. 14-18.
The London-based Shared Experience bring their interpretation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina to the Majestic Theatre Nov. 11-15. Directed by Nancy Meckler, the piece takes the parallel paths of the novel's Anna and Levin and interweaves them, using the characters' lives and love affairs as moral counterweights to one another. As usual, the Next Wave Festival will host a variety of other productions from the worlds of opera, dance and music. Among this year's performers are choreographers Bill T. Jones, William Forsythe, and Susan Marshall, the Kronos Quartet, jazz clarinetist Don Byron, and France's Ballet Preljocaj. For information on any or all of these performances, call (718) 636-4100. Tickets are now on sale.
-- By Robert Simonson