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Fri, Jun 14

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Los Angeles

The Comet / Poppea

Friday, June 14 at 8:00pm (World Premiere) Saturday, June 15 at 8:00pm Sunday, June 16 at 2:00pm Tuesday, June 18 at 8:00pm Thursday, June 20 at 5:00pm & 8:00pm Friday, June 21 at 5:00pm & 8:00pm Saturday, June 22 at 2:00pm & 8:00pm Sunday, June 23 at 2:00pm

Time & Location

Jun 14, 2024, 7:00 PM – Jun 23, 2024, 11:00 PM

Los Angeles, 152 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

About the event

Friday, June 14 at 8:00pm (World Premiere) Saturday, June 15 at 8:00pm Sunday, June 16 at 2:00pm Tuesday, June 18 at 8:00pm Thursday, June 20 at 5:00pm & 8:00pm Friday, June 21 at 5:00pm & 8:00pm Saturday, June 22 at 2:00pm & 8:00pm Sunday, June 23 at 2:00pm

COMPOSED BY GEORGE LEWIS LIBRETTO BY DOUGLAS KEARNEY CONCEPT & DIRECTION BY YUVAL SHARON

The Comet / Poppea brings together seemingly disparate worlds connected by stories of cultural transformation. The work juxtaposes Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea), an Italian opera from 1643 unfolding among the social divisions of ancient Rome; and the world premiere of The Comet, based on the 1924 science-fiction short story by sociologist and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Set in 1920s New York City, “The Comet” depicts a Black man and white woman as the only survivors after a comet hits Earth.

Presented on a turntable divided in two halves, these worlds unfold simultaneously, with the stage’s rotation creating a visual and sonic spiral for audiences—inviting associations, dissociations, collisions, and confluences.

“As the piece goes on, those two works start to leak into each other,” observes composer George Lewis. “Drawing on Du Bois’s own concept of ‘double consciousness,’ the opera is structured around a number of these doublings: points of repetition or intersection that underscore the dialogue between the two works and the relevance of that dialogue today.”

As director Yuval Sharon explains, “The Comet / Poppea explores exclusion in classical music by creating an uneasy tessellation between the Baroque and the contemporary, and by enacting the experience of double consciousness. It begins as a critique of the institution of opera and ends as a justification of the art form’s radical potential: in the unexpected harmony to be discovered in juxtaposition and its ability to invite a contemplation of both timely and timeless struggles.”

Developed over six years,  The Comet / Poppea is realized through a landmark partnership among smaller organizations across the United States, produced by Anthony Roth Costanzo and Cath Brittan, The Industry, AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), Curtis Institute of Music, and Yale Schwarzman Center.

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