Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

ArtsEmerson to Return to In-Person Performance With the World Premiere of IPHIGENIA

pixeltracker

Classical and jazz forms collide in a full orchestral score that features Shorter’s groundbreaking method of symphonic improvisation.

ArtsEmerson to Return to In-Person Performance With the World Premiere of IPHIGENIA

ArtsEmerson will gather audiences once again in a physical theatre following a gap of 20 months with the World Premiere of Iphigenia. This premiere piece disrupts the traditional tale of the sacrificial daughter of Greece in a work that envelopes the classical with the contemporary with three performances only November 12 - 13, 2021 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, presented in association with New England Conservatory.

Two of the most visionary and daring musical voices of our time - composer Wayne Shorter and librettist and performer Esperanza Spalding - have created a modern operatic re-imagining of a powerful ancient story. The production is directed by Obie Award winner Lileana Blain-Cruz, and conducted by Clark Rundell, with scenic design by Frank Gehry - a longtime friend and creative collaborator of Shorter and spalding's.

Shorter and spalding's Iphigenia, unlike its forebears, is not an adaptation of the Greek myth as much as it is an intervention into myth-making itself, and into music and opera as we know it. Classical and jazz forms collide in a full orchestral score that features Shorter's groundbreaking method of symphonic improvisation. spalding's libretto is deeply poetic and then suddenly radical - Iphigenia is multiplied, her identity is fractured and shared until the stage is occupied by a chorus of her. Iphigenia stares down the history of opera and makes some demands on its future: No more tragic women singing through suicide and going mad in perfect pitch. No more spectacles of women dead and dying. In the end, Shorter and spalding turn their gaze outward beyond the stage: What will we make, they ask, at this precise moment in our collective present when we are so desperately in need of new visions for the world?

"We are really excited to reintroduce our audiences to gathering in our spaces for such a spectacular and visionary event - the World Premiere of Iphigenia," says David Howse, Executive Director at ArtsEmerson. "It is a true privilege to present work by Esperanza Spalding, who has a long-standing relationship with us here at ArtsEmerson, and the legendary Wayne Shorter - a piece that will undoubtedly expand our imagination and association with the myth and the woman. We are honored to present this epic work and thrilled that it will bring our community together in person once again in the beautiful Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre."

"ArtsEmerson has been a pillar of support and encouragement from the beginning of this Opera's inception," says spalding. "I and the whole creative and production team are so honored and beyond excited to be premiering Iphigenia with this beautiful community."

"On behalf of the College community, I welcome back theatre patrons, and express my deep gratitude for the collaborative work of so many to bring the remarkable Iphigenia to a world premiere with ArtsEmerson," said William P. Gilligan, Emerson College Interim President.

Tickets for Iphigenia may be purchased 24/7 at ArtsEmerson.org, or by calling 617-824-8400 (Tue-Sat from 12:00PM ET - 6:00PM ET). The Paramount Center Box Office (559 Washington Street, Boston) is open for walk-up service Thu-Sat from Noon - 6:00 PM ET. Tickets may also be purchased as part of an ArtsEmerson Season Package, featuring discounts up to 40% off. Groups of 10+ attending a performance save up to 30%. Thanks to generous support from Rockland Trust, a limited number of $10 Mobile Rush tickets will be available at 10:00 AM ET each performance day on a first-come, first-served basis, exclusively through the TodayTix mobile app. For more information, please click on "General Public'' when you visit ArtsEmerson's Offers web page.

Iphigenia Play Reading Book Club

ArtsEmerson is also proud to announce that registration is open for the latest iteration of its wildly popular Play Reading Book Club (PRBC). This pioneering theater literacy and community education program enriches the theater-going experience by offering unique and radical access to scripts, artists, and facilitates conversations that dive deeper into artistic events presented at ArtsEmerson, while expanding the social networks of its participants.

The PRBCs for Iphigenia will feature both in-person gatherings and a virtual Zoom option, each taking place over multiple sessions. These gatherings will take place over the course of three weeks where attendees will read the Euripides version of the Iphigenia myth, discuss the text, see the world premiere of Shorter and spalding's intervention to opera as we know it, and enjoy a private reception with the artists. All PRBC participants will attend the live, in-person performance of Iphigenia at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre on Saturday, November 13 at 8:00 PM (tickets sold separately).

Locations and Dates:

Boston Public Library Roxbury Branch

149 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA 02119

Sessions:

a-? Monday 10/25 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Monday 11/01 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Monday 11/08 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Saturday, 11/13 from 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM (PRBC Night at Iphigenia)

a-? Monday 11/15 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Tuesday 11/16 from 3:45 PM - 5:45 PM

Face masks are required for all Boston Public Library visitors regardless of vaccine status. Visitors may not eat or drink in the library.

BCYF/ Jackson Mann Community Center

500 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

Sessions:

a-? Wednesday, 10/27 from 5:30-8:30PM

a-? Wednesday 11/03 from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

a-? Friday 11/10 from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

a-? Saturday, 11/13 from 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM (PRBC Night at Iphigenia)

a-? Wednesday 11/17 from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Face masks are required for all BCYF visitors regardless of vaccine status. Visitors may not eat or drink in the community center.

ArtsEmerson

Virtual Zoom gatherings

Sessions:

a-? Tuesday 10/26 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Thursday 10/28 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Tuesday 11/02 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Thursday 11/04 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Tuesday 11/09 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Thursday 11/11 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

a-? Saturday, 11/13 from 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM (PRBC Night at Iphigenia)

a-? Tuesday 11/16 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Participation in PRBCs for Iphigenia is free and advance registration is required.

Access to registration is currently open at ArtsEmerson.org.

After the Curtain Call: Iphigenia

ArtsEmerson is excited to announce that Esperanza Spalding, current Fresh Sound Artist-in-Residence at Emerson College, will be featured in a panel discussion on the Monday evening following the close of the Iphigenia engagement. After the Curtain Call: Iphigenia will join spalding in conversation with musicologist Dr. Carolyn Abbate and Boston While Black Founder Sheena Collier, moderated by Emerson College assistant professor Dr. Dana Edell.

After the Curtain Call: Iphigenia, part of ArtsEmerson's Public Dialogue initiative, will take place on November 15, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at the Emerson Paramount Center Robert J. Orchard Stage (559 Washington Street, Boston). The event will also be livestreamed and accessible for virtual viewing. Both the in-person event and the virtual livestream will require tickets, which will be available soon. Full details are forthcoming at ArtsEmerson.org.


Related Articles View More Boston Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You