David Lang & I.C.E.
The Whisper Opera
Friday, January 16, 2015 | 7:00 pm
I.C.E. International Contemporary Ensemble — “bracing, illuminating, reassuring” (Financial Times) — perform The Whisper Opera, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang’s compelling new work of lyric theater, for an audience of just fifty-two people per show at Duke Performances. The piece premiered at MCA Chicago and the Mostly Mozart Festival, where the New York Times praised the work’s “contemplative allure … which comes from its pervasive softness, stillness, intimacy.”
This one-of-a-kind work is performed with the musicians, singer, and an audience of only 52, enclosed in an intimate onstage set at Reynolds Theater. Scored for soprano, flute, clarinet, percussion, and cello, the libretto of The Whisper Opera is performed almost entirely in whispers, audible thanks to director Jim Findlay’s innovative design. As he developed the work, David Lang wondered: “what if a piece were so quiet and so personal to the performers that you needed to be right next them or you would hear almost nothing? A piece like this would have to be experienced live. The only way this piece can be received is if you are there, listening very very closely.”