30 years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, the world still cannot turn away from the compelling nature and emotional complexity of his influential photographs; nestled between erotic heat and cool classicism, his controversial works were images of a generation, shattering mainstream conceptions of conventional beauty.
In this new work, Bryce Dessner (The National), in collaboration with librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle and director Kaneza Schaal, explores Mapplethorpe’s uncanny ability to make the viewer question the commonly held beliefs on race, gender and politics that underpin most of society. Featuring poetry by Tuttle, Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, sung by the Grammy Award-winning eight-person choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) sets Dessner’s music against some of the most electrifying and divisive words and images in contemporary art.
Through music and large-scale projections of Mapplethorpe’s work, Triptych is a bold take and close examination of one of the most brilliant photographers of the 20th century.
Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann in cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Produced in Residency with and Commissioned by University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Co-produced by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Music and Artistic Director. Co-commissioned by BAM; Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada; Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Athens, Greece; Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati, OH; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Stanford Live, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Adelaide Festival, Australia; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for performance as part of DirectCurrent 2019; ArtsEmerson: World on Stage, Emerson College, Boston, MA; Texas Performing Arts, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Holland Festival; Celebrity Series, Boston, MA; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; and the Momentary, Bentonville, AR, as well as a residency development through MassMOCA, North Adams, MA.
This project received a workshop through “Opera Fusion: New Works,” a joint venture between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as a residency development through MassMOCA, North Adams, MA.