BMOP Performs Rushdie's HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES

BMOP Performs Rushdie's HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, presents the Boston premiere of Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Charles Wuorinen with libretto by James Feon, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie. Led by Artistic Director and Conductor Gil Rose, this semi-staged opera features performances by BMOP and special guest soprano Heather Buck.

Described by Opera News as "an over-flowing feast of witty, inventive music-theater," Haroun was premiered in 2014 by the New York City Opera. It is a sophisticated, adult fantasy-opera based on an equivalently sophisticated children's novel written by a man under a death sentence. "For those who want an opera of widely diverse dramatic character and complex music, this is for you," says Gil Rose.

Bombay-born Salman Rushdie completed his first children's novel, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, in 1990, while in hiding in England under an intentional assassination-sentence by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini for blasphemy to Islam in the author's previous book.

In a make-believe world, based loosely on Bombay and Kashmir, the story of Haroun is a tale of a fight between the free imagination and the powers that oppose it. The libretto stays close to the buoyant spirit of the original children's book, conjuring up a fantasy world, without ever losing Rushdie's colorful parable of the crucial importance of freedom of speech. Aptly, Wuorinen's 12-tone musical language has "layers of colorful, bouncy, sometimes Oriental, always 'singable' phrases and motives that glide or explode in many directions." (Opera News)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Charles Wuorinen (b.1938) has written more than 260 compositions to date. He has been described as a "maximalist," writing music luxuriant with events, lyrical and expressive, and strikingly dramatic. His works are characterized by powerful harmonies and elegant craftsmanship, offering at once a link to the music of the past and a vision of a rich musical future. Regarding his music for Haroun, he described it as "typical me, and does not try to be anything non-Western, non-me, or non-American."

BMOP is thrilled to welcome back soprano Heather Buck. She wowed audiences last season in BMOP's semi-staged opera The Trial at Rouen. She created the title role in Haroun which Opera News described as "a career-breakthrough for soprano Heather Buck. Diminutive but friskily all over the stage, she inhabited and enlivened her character and the story, and the music's high flights fazed her not."

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is the premier orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A unique institution of crucial artistic importance to today's musical world, BMOP exists to disseminate exceptional orchestral music of the present and recent past via performances and recordings of the highest caliber. Founded by Artistic Director Gil Rose in 1996, BMOP has championed composers whose careers span nine decades.

Each season, Rose brings BMOP's award-winning orchestra, renowned soloists, and influential composers to the stage of New England Conservatory's historic Jordan Hall in a series that offers orchestral programming of unmatched diversity. Named Musical America's 2016 Ensemble of the Year, the musicians of BMOP are consistently lauded for the energy, imagination, and passion with which they infuse the music of the present era. For more information, please visit BMOP.org.

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