BAM's Next Wave Festival and Brooklyn Phil Present NY Premiere of Tan Dun's The Gate

Classic Arts News   BAM's Next Wave Festival and Brooklyn Phil Present NY Premiere of Tan Dun's The Gate
Conductors are skilled, versatile and often brave, but they're rarely brave enough to perform as actors during their own concerts. But Michael Christie, music director of the ever-unconventional Brooklyn Philharmonic, will be doing double-duty as conductor and actor this week: He's playing The Guard in Tan Dun's The Gate, a co-production between the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the 25th annual Next Wave Festival.

The fourth in Tan Dun's series of "orchestral theater" pieces, The Gate combines three different styles of acting and singing with a symphonic score and live video, created from the stage action in real time by videographer Mike Newman.

At the Gate of Judgment, The Guard (played by Christie) stands in judgment as three literary heroines who killed themselves for love — Shakespeare's Juliet (sung by a Western operatic soprano), Yu Ji of Farewell My Concubine (played by a Beijing Opera actress), and the courtesan Koharu (performed by a bunraku puppeteer) from the 18th-century Japanese epic The Love Suicides at Amijima Chikamatsu — plead their cases to be reborn.

Nancy Allen Lundy takes the role of Juliet, with Song Yang as Yu Ji and Hua Hua Zhang as Koharu. Joining Christie and the Brooklyn Philharmonic are the three men of the Talujon Percussion Group. The trio will open the program with Tan Dun's Water Music, a title which Tan took far more literally than Handel could have dreamed: the work is comprised of rhythms and melodies made solely with water.

The Gate and Water Music will receive three performances — this evening and Friday and Saturday (Dec. 7 and 8) — at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House. On Friday after the performance, there will be a special BAMdialogue with Christie and Tan Dun about the project. Information and tickets (priced at $20, $45 and $60) are available at

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