OperaWire feature

“Mending Wall – How PRISM Saxophone Quartet Joined Forces with Soprano Tony Arnold for a Unique Musical Journey” By Chris Ruel

From the article:

“The content of the poem, ‘Where Her Eye Sits,’ related to PRISM’s theme of mending walls, the demise of apartheid and that regime, and the construction of a new vision of society,” George Lewis told OperaWire in an interview. “[The poem] is like a libretto and directs what happens in the piece. In this case, I wanted to look at the imagery of the poem and have sounds that would relate to that. I also wanted to give a sense of distress, foreboding, horror–things that come out in the poem. I wanted to have a sense of dynamism about the saxophone music and the voice blending to express in a way the meaning of the words. When you see a word like ‘blood,’ what does that bring up in your mind? It’s important to do that.

“I just wish he [Keorapetse Kgositsile] were here to hear it. Close friends will be able to hear it and they’ll appreciate keeping his work before the public and honoring him and his enormous place in the world of letters, the world of activism, and his courage; the courage with which he fought apartheid and overcame it through the power of words and his love of music. That’s why I did it.”

Read the full article.

Observer preview

“Spring’s Best Opera Reveals an Art Form Rapidly Innovating” By Mary von Aue

Mending Wall is another great example of emerging opera stars bending the rules with what opera can do. Prism Quartet tapped Jorinde Keesmaat and soprano Tony Arnold to link four major works by the composers Arturo O’Farrill, George Lewis, Juri Seo and Martin Bresnick to make music inspired by four poets. Each composer was given a single prompt: chose a poem to represent their own experience of living behind walls.”

Read the full piece.

Philadelphia Inquirer preview

“Classical spring: Top pianists, Beethoven all over the place—and a knock-your-socks-off ‘Elektra’” by Peter Dobrin

“What’s the meaning of a wall in this day and age? [Prism] answers in the world premiere of “Mending Wall,” a fully staged theatrical collection of works by composers George Lewis, Arturo O’Farrill, Juri Seo, and Martin Bresnick. The poetry of Robert Frost figures into one work.”


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