Peak Performances' 2017 – 18 Season: Women Innovators in the Performing Arts

Peak Performances' 2017 – 18 season is devoted entirely to works by women innovators in the performing arts. The New York Times noted, When Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin opened at the Metropolitan Opera in December, it was the first opera by a woman to be performed at the Met in 113 years. The work opened a discussion about the gender gap in classical music and other fields, and organizations such as Opera America and Prototype have recently made efforts to provide equal opportunities for female creators. Now Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., is going a step further: Its upcoming Peak Performances season will entirely consist of new works by women. The lineup features premieres across music, theater and dance, including from the composer Ashley Fure, the choreographer Pam Tanowitz and the theater director Karin Coonrod.” According to Peak Performances' executive director Jedediah Wheeler, “The temper of the times demands a statement: there is no excuse for the remarkably slow progress toward gender parity in the arts.” 

Tickets are on sale on April 20 and may be purchased in person or by calling the Peak Performances box office at 973-655-5112.

American Premiere
Karin Coonrod | Compagnia de' Colombari
The Merchant of Venice
By William Shakespeare
September 19 – October 1
Karin Coonrod, dubbed by Ben Brantley of The New York Times “a theater artist of far-reaching inventiveness,” directs this groundbreaking production, originally staged last year in the Jewish ghetto in Venice, Italy. Five performers of diverse race, ethnicity, and gender play the pivotal role of Shylock. Featuring Ned Eisenberg and Reg E. Cathey.

American Premiere
Ashley Fure
Adam Fure | International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
The Force of Things: An Opera for Objects
October 6 – 8
Ashley Fure, named “one of the finest young composers around” by The New York Times, creates an immersive installation in which audience members sit beneath a dense canopy of hanging things that transform through kinetic, sonic, and lighting effects as the piece unfolds.

Simone Dinnerstein | Pam Tanowitz
New Work for Golberg Variations
October 19 – 22
Simone Dinnerstein, a pianist of “true expressive force” (The Washington Post) and Pam Tanowitz, “the wittiest choreographer since Mark Morris” (The New York Times), collaborate on an evening-length dance set to Bach's Goldberg Variations.

American Premiere
Emma Dante | Sud Costa Occidentale
Le Sorelle Macaluso (The Sisters Macaluso)
November 16 – 19
Legendary Italian director Emma Dante's company makes a rare US appearance with Le Sorelle Macaluso. In a fantastical world suspended between earth and heavens where the seven Macaluso sisters form a family of crows participating of the funerals of their own family members and of others, they fight again and again over the line between life and death.

Shanghai Quartet with Yiwen Lu, erhu
December 16
The Shanghai Quartet introduces Yiwen Lu, one of China's top erhu players, in her first major US concert.

Camille A. Brown & Dancers
February 1 – 4
ink is the final installment in TED Fellow and Bessie Award-winner Camille A. Brown's trilogy of dance-theater works about culture, race, and identity. It reclaims African American narratives and examines elements of them that have been appropriated, rewritten, or silenced, drawing on African American social dance, African dance, tap, jazz, modern, and hip hop.

World Premiere
Stacy Klein | Double Edge Theatre
Leonora and Alejandro: La Maga y el Maestro
March 17 – 25
Following the success of 2016's The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century), Stacy Klein and Double Edge Theatre return with a new work that imagines a conversation between Leonora Carrington, the British-born Mexican surrealist painter, novelist, and founding member of Mexico's Women's Liberation Movement, and Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Chilean-French filmmaker. Leonora and Alejandro reflects on the silencing of women, the role of military puppets and corporate thugs, and the purposeful devastation of land, water, and people.

American Premiere
Inbal Oshman | New York Baroque Incorporated
M Stabat Mater
April 12 – 15
Emerging Israeli choreographer Inbal Oshman uses Giovanni Battistia Pergolesi's 1736 composition Stabat Mater as the point of departure for a contemporary dance work that explores universal aspects of motherhood. Oshman takes inspiration from the story of the Virgin Mary, the dark raging Hindu goddess Kali, and the Four Matriarchs of the Bible. Singers and musicians from the period orchestra New York Baroque Incorporated, led by Wen Yang, will perform Pergolesi's score.

American Premiere
Angélica Liddell | Atra Bilis Teatro
Esta Breve Tragedia de la Carne (This Brief Tragedy of the Flesh)
April 19 – 22
Spanish writer, director, and performance artist Angélica Liddell is known for subjecting herself and her performers to physical pain to explore politics and the human condition. Here she takes inspiration from Emily Dickinson, who spent much of her life secluded in a room in her father's house. Liddell reflects on Dickinson's fascination with bees as well as her confinement, performing enclosed onstage with live bees.

World Premiere
Julia Wolfe | Maya Beiser
May 10 – 13
Julia Wolfe (Steel Hammer, Anthracite Fields), a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music, and the genre-bending cellist Maya Beiser, described by Rolling Stone as “a cello rock star,” collaborate on Spinning, a piece that draws on history, legend, metaphor, and iconic imagery of the simple labor of spinning thread, incorporating sounds of cello, accordion, percussion, singing, and speaking with multi-media projections and textiles by innovative visual artist Laurie Olinder.

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