Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode Set for Times Square

Robin Rhode imagines Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung (Expectation) in Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode for the first-ever live production of an opera in Times Square on November 7th and 8th at 5:00 pm on the Broadway Plaza between 42nd and 43rd Streets. This is in partnership with Performa15, the world's largest performance art biennial.

Composed in 1909, Erwartung takes the unusual form of a one-act monodrama for a solo soprano, accompanied by a large orchestra. For Rhode, this atonal opera about love, loss, and lamentation, recalled the many hardships experienced by women in South Africa during and after the fall of Apartheid. The absentism caused by men who left home to seek employment in cities and gold mines, or those men who were either detained or who went into political exile, reminded the artist of the deep psychosis of loss and lamentation experienced by these women that so much reflected the mood of Schoenberg's soprano character Die Frau.

Originally set in the moonlit, wilderness of the forest, Rhode's reproduction of Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode interprets Times Square itself to be a contemporary forest filled with light emanating from the electronic billboards instead of the moon. The stage takes the shape of an enlarged oval covered with paper that mimics the lightness and weightlessness of dried leaves in autumn. The performance takes place in a huge aria with just one soprano and non-speaking performer carrying out the opera, with the sights and sounds of Times Square acting as a Greek Chorus in the background.

Conducted by Arturo Tamayo, Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode will be performed by the renowned French soprano Carole Sidney Louis.

Visitors to Times Square can either sit on the risers flanking each side of the performance or stop as they pass by. Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode continues Rhode's inventive use of public space, and activates the city streets in a unique way.

Artist Robin Rhode said, "In the original stage setting we encounter the soprano, at night, walking in a dark forest, her only light source is that of a moon that shines through the darkened branches of trees. I began to imagine Times Square as a setting for my 21st century version. The steel skyscrapers here act as dark, shimmering, tall trees in an imaginary urban forest, the bright neon ambient lights from the billboards becoming the moonlight for the soprano while she is in her hallucinatory, disordered mindset."

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, "We welcome Rhode's production of Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode as another opportunity for Times Square to allow artists to experiment in new ways."

Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Arts Director, said, "Robin Rhode has created the ultimate counterpoint to the environment of Times Square - a way for us to visually and aurally focus in a new composition of a place we think we know so well."

Roselee Goldberg, Founding Director and Curator Performa, said, "All Robin Rhodes' work is about communicating with an audience, directly and immediately. He creates pictures before their eyes -- on the wall of a building, on the street - and takes off as quickly, leaving them with an image, a visual story, that stays with them for a long time. This is a rare thing, and how thrilling that he will make such magic in one of the busiest crossroads of the world, Times Square. That he does this with a rarely performed solo opera by Arnold Schoenberg, that also speaks of politics and society, changes the very idea of art for public spaces."

Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode will be performed November 7-8 at 5:00pm on Broadway Plaza between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

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