Eros and Thanatos

Against the Grain’s Death/Desire opened last night at the Neubacher Shor Contemporary Gallery.  It’s structured around Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin cycle with the songs of Messiaen’s Harawi: Chants d’amour et de mort interpolated, though not in the usual order.  Thus there are two characters; The Man, singing the Schubert; who is very much the conventional questing lover of 19th century poetry, and The Woman, singing the Messiaen (mostly) who is something very different from the young girl of Wilhelm Müller’s texts.  The piece is staged with both characters on stage most of the time and interacting in ways that reflect the music and don’t.

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