Samuel Barber's "The Hermit Songs" is a cycle of ten songs derived from various sources including masterpieces from early illuminated manuscripts and ancient pagan poems.
The Hermit Songs is a globally popular and musically significant work, originally premiered with the composer at the piano and sung by the great African American soprano Leontyne Pryce in 1953 at the Library of Congress.
Alvin Ailey, the groundbreaking contemporary choreographer in association with another “great” of early contemporary dance making, William Louther, made a series of beautiful, minimal dance-theatre pieces, specifically set to The Hermit Songs bringing the music to glorious three-dimensional life.
The Hermit Songs are performed as promenade concerts sung by choirs, mezzo-soprano, baritone and counter tenor, with dancers, organist, string quartet, piano and specially composed musique-concrète soundscapes to amplify the architectural grandeur of cathedral spaces.
The perfect synthesis of Opera and Dance, these performances blend latest technological developments in digital painting and projections of early Christian illuminated manuscripts, renaissance painting and live performance calligraphy, mapped and projected onto the exteriors and interiors of great churches and other religious spaces.
In buildings of spiritual significance and atmosphere, the exploration of what lies beyond ordinary human existence with great music and theatrical imagery is and experience not normally found within more traditional theatre spaces.
The piece is conceived and directed by Sandy Strallen with Duncan Macfarland and co-produced with Dónal Cox, Liz Newbery & Fifth Province Productions with Stuart Thomas, curator of The Ailey/Louther Hermit Songs choreographic works, Dónal Cox as The Bard and Baritone Richard Court as lead solo voices.
New music will be specially composed by Bill Laurance.
ONLINE REFERENCES for CREATIVE COLLABORATIVES
Sandy Strallen - Producer/Director
Duncan Macfarland – Director
Richard Court Baritone - Lead vocal
Stuart Thomas - Curator of the Ailey/Louther Hermit Songs choreography
Dónal Cox, Liz Newbery & Fifth Province Productions - Associate producers
Samuel Barber - Original composer
Bill Laurance - Hermit Songs soundscape composer
Julienne Schembri - choreographic collaborator "Nearly Normal"
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