Curlew River | UNC Campus: Memorial Hall | Stage | Indy Week


Curlew River

When: Thu., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. and Fri., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. 2014

Noh is an ancient form of Japanese theater involving actors, musicians and dancers—all men, even in female roles. Folkloric gods and heroes shimmer to life through masks, props and languid, poetic gestures. The plays stretch out all day, gradually immersing viewers in a different order of time. Benjamin Britten, the mid-20th-century composer of Peter Grimes and Billy Budd, saw Sumidagawa in Japan and absorbed it into the slow, intense opera Curlew River with librettist William Plomer. It blends the ritualistic air of Noh, and some of the staging, with Britten's abiding interest in the psychology of outcasts. As a Madwoman looking for her lost son, tenor Ian Bostridge leads a fine British cast, accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices. The show is traditionally performed in church pew aisles that represent a boat (A Parable for Church Performance is the subtitle). The producers, which include Carolina Performing Arts, London's Barbican Centre, New York's Lincoln Center and UC Berkeley, promise that Memorial Hall will be suitably transformed by an elaborate multimedia set piece from director Netia Jones. It won't take all day, but it's a great chance to slow down. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. and 8:00 p.m. Fri., $10–$35, 114 E. Cameron Ave., 919-843-3333, Brian Howe

Price: $10-$35

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