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THE GENTLEMAN RESTS, New Opera About the 2000 Election, to Play JACK

JACK presents The Gentleman Rests, a new opera by Dave Ruder, Oct. 27 - 29, 2016.

The Gentleman Rests is a concert performance of a new opera depicting the special session of congress in 2001 in which the Congressional Black Caucus attempted to halt the certification of Florida's votes for the contested presidential election due to alleged disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Floridians. Composer Dave Ruder (thingNY) sets transcripts of the congressional session to music for five vocalists, viola, trombone, Rhodes piano and bassoon, including the ironic drama of Al Gore (as President of the Senate) following congressional protocol by gaveling over each objecting Black Caucus member, hastening the end of his presidential ambitions.

Composed by Dave Ruder, with vocalists Michele Kennedy, Amirtha Kidambi, Kyra Sims, Gabrielle Davenport and Brian McCorkle, Sam Morrison (Rhodes), Jen Baker (trombone), Nisreen Nor (bassoon) and Karen Waltuch (viola). With lighting design by Tuce Yasak and sound engineering by Gus Callahan.

After two months of post-election chaos in Florida in late 2000, the congressional session depicted in Ruder's opera was the final step declaring Bush the winner. The Congressional Black Caucus repeatedly tried to raise objections about the results from Florida, citing widespread disenfranchisement and irregularities (that, as usual in the history of US voting, impacted African-Americans hardest), and each objection was turned away because no senator would second them.

The Gentleman Rests in part serves as a reminder that despite the outrage and confusion over the outcome of an election in which the candidate who won the popular vote lost the presidency, in which the Supreme Court and the brother of one of the candidates somehow played a role, and in which one candidate presided over the joint session of congress that finally crowned his rival, precious little has changed in the machinery of major US elections. By foregrounding the Congressional Black Caucus's efforts to call attention to disenfranchisement in Florida, the piece also calls attention to constant efforts over the history of the US to keep African-Americans from voting, and how the past 16 years have seen increased opportunity for such discrimination via the gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

In composing The Gentleman Rests, Ruder drew on his extensive experience as a performer and arranger of the work of Robert Ashley, Anthony Braxton, Kenneth Gaburo and other contemporary opera composers who utilize a spectrum of spoken-to-sung vocalizations. The libretto is drawn directly from the transcript of the joint session, mixing the beautifully arcane procedural, parliamentary language of election certificates with the ardent pleas of Representatives, and maintaining the original hesitations, ums, and self-corrections of the speakers. Throughout the piece, the five vocalists alternate roles, so there is no single voice identified as Gore's voice or as the various voices of the CBC. Rather, Gore's lines are delivered in a unified fast-paced style, indicating his interest in moving through the certification process speedily. The CBC vocalizes in a range of styles that build to more florid, melodious, full-voiced singing. Bookending the piece are breathlessly fast readings of the election certificates of other states, getting back to the normally mundane process of formal certification.

The Gentleman Rests was written in 2014 on a commission from the Jerome Foundation and Roulette. It was performed at Roulette in March 2015 and has been revised to its current form.

Tickets: $18, in advance at www.jackny.org or cash only at the door. Performances play JACK | 505 ½ Waverly Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238. Take the C or G train to Clinton-Washington.

Dave Ruder (composer) is a Brooklyn-based vocalist, clarinetist, guitarist, electronicist, composer, songwriter, writer/librettist, interdisciplinary collaborator, etc. Dave is a key member of the groups Varispeed, thingNY, and Reps. Additionally, Dave has worked with Anthony Braxton, Aaron Siegel, Helado Negro, Andrew Lafkas (Eidolon), Kimberly Bartosik, AbiGail Levine, Joanna Kotze, Dušan Týnek, and Panoply Performance Laboratory. Dave worked extensively with composer Robert Ashley, premiering two of his late compositions and interpreting a number of his pieces, including numerous live performances of Perfect Lives. Since 2013, Dave has been the driving force behind Gold Bolus Recordings, where you can find a number of his albums. As a composer, Dave received a commission from the Jerome Foundation and Roulette in 2014. Additionally, his work has been featured in Experiments in Opera, and his WHY LIE? project, 100+ open scores, is available online. By day, Dave works for the Make Music Alliance/Make Music NY.




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