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Music / Performance

The Voice of Toby Newman

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Photo: Courtesy the artist

Part of the spring 2014 R&D Season: VOICE

In conjunction with Jeanine Oleson’s exhibition “Hear, Here” (April 23–July 6), guest music curator Cori Ellison (Dramaturg at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and previously at New York City Opera, 1997–2010) has organized a series of musical events exploring the possibilities of the operatic voice by placing it in nontraditional contexts.

Mezzo-soprano Toby Newman’s work spans the operatic, concert, and new music repertoire. Beyond her opera career in works of Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Holst, and Bernstein, she works regularly with Meredith Monk, singing with her on multiple recordings and in concert at Carnegie Hall as well as many other venues. She has also appeared in the world premiere of Robert Een’s opera The Escape Artist at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Her program for the New Museum questions the limits of the operatic voice, melding traditional classical vocalism with vanguard extended vocal methods and ancient and ethnic techniques.

The series kicks off with The Rocky Horror Opera Show (March 7), in which a quartet of opera singers performs operatic standards to live accompaniment while an audience of die-hard opera fans and general public are encouraged to dress up, sing along, dance, or do whatever they’re moved to do, but normally restricted from doing. The series continues with an evening featuring Joseph Keckler (April 25). Known for taking mundane lived experiences and transposing them into an operatic medium, Keckler’s program features selections of new work, including fragments from a work-in-progress in which he playfully skewers televised singing competitions. Next up, soprano Kristin Norderval (May 2) presents a selection of works for voice and laptop (with a focus on live vocal sampling and real-time audio processing) alongside several works utilizing sounds recorded from discarded and decaying pianos.

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