“Dennis Cleveland is a multimedia opera that is set entirely on a television talk show in the late 20th century. It is the second opera in a Trilogy that consists of Failing Kansas, an opera based on the events surrounding the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas and inspired by the examination of those events in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and The End Of Cinematics an opera that explores the nature of corporate entertainment.
The host, Dennis Cleveland, is the catalyst and provacatour of the opera, as well as the vehicle through which the story of the opera is told. The various soloists (placed in the audience) and chorus (guests that appear on stage) are linked together by the talk show host. As befits the current obsession with confessional talk shows, the content of the story evolves through the constant interaction of Dennis Cleveland and his guests. Though the guests appear to be telling their own stories, stories of lost love,obsession, crimes and regrets, what soon becomes clear is that they are telling the story of Dennis Cleveland as well.
Dennis Cleveland uses the live tape talk show format as its model while subverting the structure of this format through a series of cleverly disguised motifs. Like the various talk shows that abound worldwide,the audience and the stage become one under constant unrelenting television studio lighting. Live videoof audience reactions and the inclusion of actors in theaudience as well as trained singers and soloistscomplete a staging that offers a new way of looking at opera.
Ultimately, the narrative is derived from the libretto, which follows Dennis Cleveland through a myriad of encounters chronicling the promise of salvation through popular culture. There is an Elmer Gantry like quality to the host and his reality, particularly the late 20th century phenomenon of television ritual as a replacement of ceremony previously associated with religion. Thus, the ritual is enforced in real time as the opera progresses and it soon becomes apparent that the audience exists in Dennis Cleveland’s future: that of the ultimate voyeur, the T.V. talk show host.”
-1996 Mikel Rouse
Upcoming Dec 7 & 9—11, 2010, 7:30pm
Part of the 2010 Next Wave Festival
Solo electric guitar and Boss RC-50 looper. Inspired by Aldous Huxley’s 1961 MIT lecture, “Visionary Experience.”
James Ross at Goodbye Blue Monday, on Fri., August 20.
also performed (on video) were Alex Carpenter and Michael Waller with help technical help from Richard Lainhart, Jim Goodin and the folks at ImprovFriday for helping to make it a great night.
from the opera “The Little Death Volume 1″
“The Little Death: Vol. 1, Matt Marks’ post-Christian nihilist pop opera, is an ambitious new work that fuses bombastic electro-pop hooks, frenetically chopped break beats, hypnotic lyrics, and apocalyptic Christian imagery. Holding these disparate elements together is a unconventional narrative that follows two characters, Boy (Matt Marks) and Girl (Mellissa Hughes), on a journey through the world of Fundamentalist Evangelism, as they cope with repressed sexuality in a modern world.
The sample-heavy work draws on musical references that echo the character’s sexual-religious confusion, including pop songs and gospel standards with evocative titles (“He Touched Me” and “When God Dips His Love In My Heart”). Marks took most of the sampled material from his own collection of 1970s gospel albums and classic hip-hop and soul recordings. Using a DIY approach, he produced the album using only a couple of microphones and a laptop running Ableton Live.
The stage show as directed by Rafael Gallegos takes inspiration from a number of sources, including The Brady Bunch Variety Hour and church lock-ins”