The Brooklyn Academy of Music will kick off the 1999 Next Wave Festival, its annual line-up of innovative theatre, music and dance, with the New York premiere performance of avant-garde darling Laurie Anderson's Songs and Stories from Moby Dick. Using Melville's text as a point of departure, Moby Dick incorporates images and unusual vocal styles to convey Anderson's thematic riffs on the piece. Laurie Anderson's return to BAM also marks her directorial debut.
The show will not necessarily adapt the classic book to stage but rather communicate Anderson's take on the Herman Melville classic. Anderson will appear in the production along with a few other actors -- a marked departure for the usual solo performances with accompanying slide shows. The characters on the doomed Pequod, from the Captain to the crazy cook, will be represented by four actors (including Anderson) that double as Noah, Jonah, Job and Melville himself. Anderson will play the roles of the Whale, Pip and a reader.
For those who have purchased tickets to the Oct. 5 opening gala, the show will be followed by dinner and dancing at a stylishly dishabille location, the Red Hook Marine Terminal Pier 11 at 70 Hamilton Ave. In keeping with the Melville theme, celebrants will have a good view of the East River and an abandoned ferry.
Tickets range form $600 to $10,000. Call (718) 636-4182.
The New Wave schedule is as follows: • Laurie Anderson's Songs and Stories from Moby Dick
Oct. 5-16, at the Opera House.
• Whiteheaded Boy from "Barabbas...the company"
Oct. 6-10, at the Majestic Theater
A skillfully comedic take on an Irish tale about small-town life and its complexities.
• Life is a Dream from Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
Oct. 12-17, at the Majestic
Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre Company will bring their production of Calderon's Life is a Dream. Spaniard Calixto Bieito directs this Spanish classic.
• Mats Ek's Carmen/Solo for Two
Oct. 19-24, at the Majestic Theatre
Renowned Swedish choreographer Mats Ek brings his Carmen/Solo for Two, performed with his Royal Lyons Opera Ballet.
• Hotel Pro Forma's OPERAtion: Orfeo
Oct. 20-23, at the Opera House
In their U.S. debut, experimental opera company Hotel Pro Forma bring their highly visual production of the Orpheus myth with music by John Cage, Bo Holten, Christoph Willibald, and Gluck in OPERAtion: Orfeo -- performed on a framed staircase that recedes into infinity.
• Philip Glass' score to "Dracula"
Performed by Kronos Quartet
Oct. 26 & 27, at the Opera House
Minimalist composer extraordinaire, Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet return to BAM when Kronos performs Glass's new score for the 1931 classic film "Dracula" starring Bela Lugosi.
• Jan Lauwers and Neecompany's Morning Song
Oct. 27-31, at the Majestic
Belgian choreographer Jan Lauwers and Neecompany perform a "burlesque" involving movement, music and text, exploring the meaning of fate and the human urge to survive.
• Pina Bausch's Danzon
Nov. 2-7, at the Opera House
Renowned gesturalist and choreographer, Bausch brings her Tanztheater Wuppertal back to BAM with her latest, Danzon. In a highly visual spectacle, Bausch lets her trademark non-narrative style incorporate Argentinean references and a stage full of tropical fish.
• Ushio Amagatsu's Hiyomeki
Nov. 10-14, at the Opera House
Choreographer Amagatsu brings his contemporary interpretation of Butoh, which utilizes the quick precise movements of Butoh combined with more traditional scenes to probe the limits of physical and emotional expression.
• Robert Lepage's Geometry of Miracles
Nov. 30-Dec. 5, at the Majestic Theatre
Canadian avant-gardist Lepage examines 30 years of Frank Lloyd Wright's tumultuous life and juxtaposes it with the life of Russian spiritualist, Georgi Gurdjieff.
• John Adams's opera Nixon in China
Dec. 3-4, at the Opera House
Performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, BAM will present a concert version of John Adams's ground-breaking opera. The title role will reprised by the lauded James Maddalena.
• Choreographer David Rousseve's Love Songs
Dec. 8-11, at the Majestic Theatre
Rousseve blends high human drama in many forms including: escaping slaves chased by hounds to a Wagner aria; set in the faded glory of an old ballroom including a number of local performers.
• Party at the End of Time: 1999 Live
Dec. 11, at the Opera House
Vernon Reid (of the rock group "Living Color"), The Roots and PM Dawn gather together to perform Prince's classic album, including "Little Red Corvette" and "1999," in the original order with new transition music written specicially for the event.
For information on any or all of these performances, call (718) 636-4100.
-- By Robert Simonson