CHICAGO — (Sept. 21, 2010) — On Oct. 22, Roosevelt University will host a multimedia opera production composed and produced by Kyong Mee Choi, assistant professor of music composition in the university’s music conservatory and recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
The opera will be held at Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., at 7:30 p.m.
The ETERNAL TAO, an electronic opera, integrates voices, instruments, video, electronics, dancers and lighting. This piece has involved a multi-channel sound system with projected visual images.
Though the project has parallels with traditional opera (voices, instruments and staging) it is ultimately different in that singers are a part of the ensemble, but not featured soloists.
The text of the production is derived from Tao Te Ching, which is thought to be one of the most influential books of all times. Written by Lao Tzu approximately 2,500 years ago, it consists of 81 short poems that do not provide any particular ideology, but instead describe a profound observation of the human condition. According to Choi, the impetus of the production is to place the Tao Te Ching in a contemporary setting and “experience a shared moment of seeing ourselves with open eyes.”
“It is intended to create an experience that, without judgment, helps us to understand what and how we are doing in the world,” says Choi, who has been interested in Taoism, Buddhism and other philosophies that are related to human enlightenment.
Performers include JulieAnn Zavala, mezzo-soprano; Brad Jungwirth, baritone supported by a chorus featuring Samantha Stein, Allison Hull, Jeff Jablonski and Chadley Ballantyne. Musicians are the chamber ensemble group Dal Niente led by conductor Michael Lewanski. Dancers include Mei Kuang Chen, Allison Anich and Natalie Williams.
Kyong Mee Choi, an Edgewater resident, teaches composition and electro-acoustic music at Roosevelt, and is an active painter, organist and poet. Choi began composing in 1996 and has had a number of works recognized by numerous organizations including the Luigi Russolo International Electro-Acoustic Competition; the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publicities (ASCAP) and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). She also won the Robert Helps Composition Prize for her work titled Gestural Trajectory in 2007.
The ETERNAL TAO is being supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. It is free of charge and will be preceded by a painting exhibition by Choi at 4 p.m. and a pre-concert talk at 6 p.m., also in Ganz Hall. Reservations are not required.
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