Ensemble of the Romantic Century Presents TCHAIKOVSKY: NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART, 3/5-3/9
Celebrating its 13th season, the Ensemble of the Romantic Century (ERC) presents Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart at The Fishman Space in the new BAM Fisher. A fully staged theatrical concert blending striking music, powerful language and biography, Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart delves into the unconventional 16-year long relationship between one of the great composers of the 19th century and his patroness, Madame von Meck. Written by Eve Wolf and directed by Donald T. Sanders, this evening-length production seamlessly interweaves a dramatic script performed by actor Simon Fortin (Tchaikovsky) and actress Ariel Bock (Madame von Meck) of Shakespeare & Company with live chamber and vocal music performed by violinist Rachel Lee Priday, cellist Adrian Daurov, pianist Eve Wolf and tenor Blake Friedman. Featuring some of Tchaikovsky's epic pieces including Piano Trio in A Minor, Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart represents some of the composer's balletic works through dance both choreographed and performed by American Ballet Theatre dancer Daniel Mantei.
What: Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart by the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC)
When: Wed 3/5 - Sat 3/8 at 7:30pm, Sat 3/8 at 2:00pm, Sun 3/9 at 3:00pm
Where: BAM Fisher, Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY, Train: 2/3/4/5/Q/B to Atlantic Ave; D/N/R to Pacific Ave; G to Fulton; C to Lafayette Ave
Known for connecting great music to the cultural events, politics and literature of earlier eras, ERC brings to life artistic luminaries from Van Gogh, Satie, Tolstoy and Dickinson to Sigmund Freud, Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde and Fanny Mendelssohn. With the advent of the organization's 43rd production Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart, ERC continues to transform the classical music concert experience. "To me Tchaikovsky is the epitome of passion in music," explains Eve Wolf, founder and executive artistic director of ERC and writer/pianist of Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart. "With the actors and musicians on stage at the same time, the chemistry is visceral. I don't want to give the plot away, but even while I am playing the piano during the performance I am drawn into this compelling story and keep my handkerchief nearby."
Described as "an extraordinary and moving way to experience Tchaikovsky's music (Albany Times Union)," Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart draws from historical material including letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper articles, poetry and literature, to create an intricate counterpoint to the musical program. In a puzzling relationship conducted exclusively through 1,200 letters (the two never met), Tchaikovsky and his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck (a wealthy Russian widow), were united by a mutual admiration in which they both found refuge.
By extracting Tchaikovsky's own words from these letters, ERC's production illustrates the composer's doubts about his music, his torment over the fear of exposure of his homosexuality, and his unquestioning love for his patroness. Tchaikovsky found in von Meck an "invisible angel." Her financial support helped the composer create some of his most important and enduring music.
This performance is dedicated to the support of the gay community. By celebrating one of Russia's well-known public figures and honoring this unique relationship, ERC plays a role in the discussion of homosexuality ignited by Russia's recent legislation banning "gay propaganda".
About Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC)
Celebrating its thirteenth season, the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC) transforms the classical music concert experience by fusing fully staged dramas with live chamber and vocal music. The combination of scripts - all drawn from historical materials such as memoirs, letters, diaries and literature - with chamber music, brings the past to life with an immediacy that has transported and captivated audiences worldwide.
ERC'S 2014 New York Season begins with Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart, to be presented early in March at BAM Fisher. This will be followed by The Trial of Oscar Wilde at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space in June. Performances in 2013 included the premiere of Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart in Lenox, Massachusetts, in partnership with Shakespeare & Company. The production received rave reviews and played to sold-out audiences.
To date, ERC has created more than 40 original theatrical concerts including Seduction, Smoke and Music: The Love Story of Chopin and George Sand, featuring actors Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack and American Ballet Theater dancers Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky; Toscanini: In My Heart too Much of the Absolute coupled with a CUNY seminar featuring author and Toscanini biographer Harvey Sachs; and four writer- centric productions: The Sorrows of Young Werther (Goethe); Tolstoy's Last Days; Herself to Her a Music (Emily Dickinson); and Jules Verne: From the Earth to the Moon. Other productions have centered on subjects such as Marcel Proust, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Dreyfus Affair, Arthur Rubinstein, Erik Satie, Peggy Guggenheim, Anna Akhmatova, Van Gogh, Debussy, Fanny Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann, Schubert, and Beethoven.
ERC has partnered with and/or performed at The Jewish Museum of New York; the Archivio Fano and the Teatro La Fenice of Venice, Italy; the Festival de Musique de Chambre Montréal; Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Masschusetts; the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts (MIFA); the French Institute- Alliance Française (FIAF); the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University; the Italian Cultural Institute of New York; the City University of New York (CUNY); the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy; the Festival del Sole in Napa Valley; and New York's Florence Gould Hall and the Eleazar de Carvalho Festival in São Paulo, Brazil.
Since 2007, ERC has been a musicological affiliate of the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation at the CUNY Graduate Center, where ERC has also established an annual series of seminars - one for each of the Ensemble's programs. ERC also served as music consultant for the Jewish Museum's 2005 exhibition, "The Power of Conversation," and was in residence in 2004 at Williams College in Massachusetts.
Founded in 2001 by pianist Eve Wolf, who also serves as Executive Artistic Director, ERC's artistic collaborators include fellow pianist and Co-Artistic Director Max Barros, Musicologist James Melo, Director of Theatrical Production Donald T. Sanders, Production Designer Vanessa James and Lighting Designer Beverly Emmons. They are complimented by an ongoing roster of musicians and actors who have become major interpreters of the ERC vision.
About Eve Wolf
Playwright/pianist Eve Wolf founded Ensemble for the Romantic Century in 2001 with the mission of creating an innovative and dramatic concert format in which the emotions revealed in memoirs, letters, diaries, and literature are dramatically interwoven with music, thus bringing to life the sensations and passions of a bygone era. For the past thirteen seasons, Ms. Wolf has written scripts for more than twenty-five of ERC's theatrical concerts and has performed in most of the ensemble's forty-plus original productions.
Some highlights include Wolf's scripts for Van Gogh's Ear at the Festival de Musique de Chambre de Montréal; Fanny Mendelssohn: Out of her Brother's Shadow commissioned by the Jewish Museum of New York; and The Dreyfus Affair and Peggy Guggenheim Stripped Bare by her Bachelors. In 2009 she performed before a sold -out audience at the Sale Apollinee of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in the Italian production of her script, Toscanini: Nel mio cuore troppo di assoluto. During the 2010-11 season, Wolf was the featured soloist in the theatrical concert Beethoven Love Elegies, for which she wrote the script. She also wrote the scripts of Jekyll & Hyde (2013), in which she was a featured soloist, and Frankenstein: Every Woman's Nightmare (2013).
Praised for her compelling performances, Wolf has appeared in Europe and the United States as a chamber musician and soloist. She received a BA in Art History from Columbia University and an MA in Piano Performance from New York University. She teaches at The Curtis Institute of Music and Columbia University-Teachers College and is a professional mentor at The Juilliard School. Wolf's teachers and mentors included Seymour Bernstein, Richard Goode, Peter Serkin, and Paul Badura-Skoda. She has taught her seminar "Confronting Memory: Memory Techniques for Musicians" in the United States and abroad.
About Donald T. Sanders
Donald T. Sanders (Director) has been Director of Theatrical Production for ERC since 2005. He directed Tchaikovsky: None But the Lonely Heart at Shakespeare & Co last summer. In 2011 he directed the ERC production of Seduction, Smoke and Music at the Tuscan Sun Festival starring Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack and its reprise at the Napa Valley Festival del Sole in 2012. Other notable ERC productions include: Fanny Mendelssohn: Out of Her Brother's Shadow at New York's Jewish Museum; Toscanini: Nel Mio Cuore Troppo di Assoluto at Venice's Teatro La Fenice Sale Apolline; and Van Gogh's Ear at New York's Florence Gould Hall and the Festival de Musique de Chambre Montréal. He has directed productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater (The American Pig: an Anti-Imperialist Vaudeville, Naked Lunch, 33 Scenes on the Possibility of Human Happiness, Thomas Cole, A Waking Dream, Edith Wharton's Old New York ) as well as off-Broadway the plays of Arnold Weinstein, Eric Bentley, Kenneth Koch and the music works of William Russo. He is a founder of New York Art Theatre Institute (NYATI). He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Bristol, England and the Yale School of Drama. Since 1993 he has been Executive Artistic Director of The Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts (MIFA) where he presents such artists as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vanessa Redgrave, England's Out of Joint, Complicite and Shakespeare's Globe Theater, and France's Comédie Française. In 2002, Sanders was made a Chevalier dans L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France.