Comala, a cantata which earned composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon designation as a Pulitzer Prize in Music finalist in 2011, will receive a special presentation at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music.
Eastman BroadBand, the Pittsburgh-based Alia Musica new music ensemble, and Rochester’s PUSH Physical Theatre are collaborating on a specially staged version of Comala, which is based on the celebrated novel Pedro Páramo by esteemed Mexican writer Juan Rulfo. Zohn-Muldoon’s work reflects the magical realism of Rulfo’s work, with time-pressed living characters expressing themselves in normal speech, while the dead characters, who are free of time, reflect endlessly in song.
The presentation features soprano Tony Arnold, described by the New York Times as “a bold and powerful interpreter” of new vocal repertoire; tenor Rob Frankenberry; and conductor Federico Garcia, artistic director of Alia Musica. Choreography is by PUSH founding co-director Darren Stevenson.
The January 24 concert in Kilbourn Hall opens with the instrumental ensembles presenting the world premieres of two works by Alia Musica composers: “recitativo frammenti” by John Arrigo-Nelson and “un re in ascolto” by Federico Garcia. The program also includes “5 Haiku” by Michael Fiday, professor of composition at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and “Guitango” by Zohn-Muldoon.
Admission to the concert is $15 for the general public; $10 with UR ID. Tickets are available at the door and also in advance at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., 585-454-2100, or online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets/ .
In recognizing Zohn-Muldoon, who is associate professor and chair of composition at Eastman, the Pulitzer committee described Comala as an “ambitious cantata that translates into music an influential work of Latin American literature, giving voice to two cultures that intersect with the term ‘America.’” The work was presented last fall in Atlanta, in Guadalajara, Mexico, and at the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico. The Rochester performance on January 24 follows three concert presentations of the work in Cincinnati on Jan. 19; Lexington, Ken., on Jan 21; and in Pittsburgh on Jan. 22.
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