2014–15 season of Met Museum Presents announced
Thursday 15, May 2014
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is more than just a splendid showcase of brilliant artifacts; it is home to a broad range of ideas and personal narratives from every civilization.
The 2014–15 season of Met Museum Presents brings these stories to life through theater, performance, and discussions that celebrate the enormous breadth, depth—and surprising relevance—of these narratives.
The new season brings great thinkers and performers of the 21st century into direct contact with their inspired predecessors and the public, and presents multiple points of view that contextualize these ideas in unprecedented and innovative ways.
This is the third season programmed by Concerts and Lectures General Manager Limor Tomer. “The nice thing about having two seasons under my belt is that we now have a ‘new normal’—our audiences know to expect the unexpected at the Met: unique performances, talks, and events,” she said. “This season we will build on our solid track record for site-specific events that engage performers and thought-leaders with the Met’s enviable intellectual and physical infrastructure.
“Whether through theater, talk, or music, we want to make visible the narratives that lie within the objects and galleries, giving our audience a depth of experience with works of art,” said Tomer. “Through integration of theater, dance, music, and video art, as well as a multitude of free-with-Museum-admission events, we hope to create multiple entry points to the Museum. We invite all New Yorkers and visitors to join us.”
Director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell commented, “Met Museum Presents shines a brilliant light on what the Met should always be: relevant, inspiring, ground-breaking, deeply rooted in our collection, but ambitiously breaking from tradition. As I’ve watched Limor’s innovation at work, I’ve enjoyed seeing a whole new dimension to our galleries exposed.”
A particular highlight of the season is the residency by The Civilians, which marks the first time that the Museum will host a theater group as Artist in Residence. “Theater is about storytelling and meaning-making, and both are vital aspects of the Metropolitan Museum; yet we’ve never had a theater troupe here. The Civilians’ documentary approach to making work is uniquely suited to teasing out the narratives that are embedded within the Met’s galleries and collections,” Tomer added. “I look forward to discovering what The Civilians will do with this opportunity to take a deep dive into the Met’s collections as well as into the minds of our dazzling curators.”
The Attacca Quartet has been named the Museum’s Quartet in Residence, following the distinguished 43-year residency of the Guarneri String Quartet. “All of us in the Attacca Quartet associate the Metropolitan Museum with great music making,” said violist Luke Fleming. “We were often in the audience when our idols, the Guarneri String Quartet, were in residence, and we are honored to perform on the same stage.”
With dozens of performances of unprecedented breath and range, the third season of Met Museum Presents establishes the institution as a venue with as much cutting-edge credibility as any facility downtown or in Brooklyn. And we offer a visual setting for these performances and lectures that is unmatched anywhere in the world.
Highlights of the 2014–15 Season
Artist Residency by The Civilians; Steve Cosson, Artistic Director
In an unprecedented collaboration, the investigative theater ensemble, The Civilians, will perform and develop works in collaboration with Met curators, specifically for the unique settings of the Museum. Founded in 2001, The Civilians brand their work as a “Center for Investigative Theater.” The troupe will perform three works: a compilation of excerpts from their previous productions; a new work designed to probe dying, death, and the afterlife; and a third that examines the changing dynamic of what it means to be an American.
Quartet Residency by Attacca Quartet
For 43 years, ending in 2009, the Met hosted performances by the Guarneri String Quartet. Now, performing in the group’s hallowed footsteps is Attacca Quartet. Attacca has distinguished itself with both a devotion to the roots of string quartet repertoire and an intense interest in contemporary music.
Mali Now: A Look at Contemporary Malian Music, Culture and Politics
Rare concerts by the renowned vocalist Salif Keita and by Bassekou Kouyate, the virtuoso ngoni player (a precursor of the banjo), and three conversations with scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., producer of the PBS series The Wonders of the African World, will offer an in-depth examination of post-millennial Mali.
U.S. Premiere of La Celestina by Opera Erratica
Commissioned for performance in the Met’s extraordinary 16th-century Vélez Blanco Patio, La Celestina is a site-specific video opera that tells the story of a nobleman, his beloved, his scheming servants, and the local prostitute/witch. Using a 10-channel audio installation and a large, multichannel video projection that transforms the architecture into an immersive dramatic-musical experience, the characters tell their individual versions of the story, Rashomon style. Published in 1499 by Fernando de Rojas, La Celestina catapulted Spanish literature out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. The story is full of ribald jokes, outrageous circumstances, and scathing social criticism. As the drama unfolds, the story takes a very dark turn, ending in tragedy.
The music combines Spanish villancicos (polyphonic vocal music similar to madrigals) with Judeo-Spanish folk music, along with Arabic and Andalusian folk music from the period.
Opera Erratica, led by Patrick Eakin Young, has been creating genre-crossing musical spectacles, from digital opera to science fiction rock ballets, to enthusiastic critical and audience acclaim.
American Premiere of Superposition
Ryoji Ikeda’s latest project features 21 screens, three performers, live and electronic music, and the sound artist’s signature video language. Superposition is an overpowering multimedia music, visual, and theater work that explores the intersection between art and science. Inspired by the subatomic world, the piece mines the notion that it is not possible to describe fully the behavior of a single particle, except in terms of probabilities. Superposition is an immersive experience; an orchestrated journey through sound, language, physical phenomena, mathematical concepts, human behavior, and randomness, all simultaneously arranged and rearranged in a theatrical arc that obliterates the boundaries between music, visual arts, and performance.
John Zorn Composes New Work for The Cloisters
Returning to the Metropolitan Museum after a triumphant daylong concert during our 2013–14 season, the edgy and continually inventive composer and MacArthur Fellow John Zorn creates a performance specifically for the Fuentidueña Chapel at The Cloisters. The program features the world premiere of The Remedy of Fortune, a composition for the indomitable JACK Quartet, composed specifically for The Cloisters; the New York premiere of The Alchemist, featuring acclaimed vocalist Tony Arnold with JACK Quartet; and The Holy Visions, performed by Jane Sheldon, Sarah Brailey, Mellissa Hughes, Abigail Fischer, and Kirsten Sollek.
Masters at the Met Presents Five Extraordinary Singers
Salif Keita, Judy Collins, Rosanne Cash, and Cécile McLorin Salvant possess voices that range from soaring incandescence to warm poignancy. Each will present a unique show of their finest works.
SPARK: A Conversation Series Continues
SPARK offers fast-paced conversations between thought leaders in various fields, who will discuss vital cultural issues through the lens of the Met. The first two programs this season will focus on art and armor from medieval knights to Game of Thrones, and the tricky business of “art that monetizes.” SPARK is hosted by Julie Burstein, author and Peabody Award–winning creator of public radio’s Studio 360.
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