Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Rokia Traoré Gives NY Premiere of "Desdemona," Collaboration with Toni Morrison, Peter Sellars, at Lincoln CenterDesdemona, Rokia Traoré's theatrical collaboration with director Peter Sellars and Nobel Prize–winning novelist Toni Morrison, receives its New York premiere at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater tonight, with an encore presentation tomorrow night. The presentation is as part of the second-annual White Light Festival, "an exploration of music’s power to illuminate our interior lives." For tickets, go to whitelightfestival.org.
The New York Times, in a feature article on the piece and its creators, describes Desdemona as "an interactive narrative of words, music and song about Shakespeare’s doomed heroine, who speaks to the audience from the grave about the traumas of race, class, gender, war—and the transformative power of love." Read the article at nytimes.com.
Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed, reviewing last week's US premiere at Berkeley's Zellerbach Playhouse, cites "Traoré's eloquent songs and entrancing voice" and calls the piece "astonishing ... a great, challenging, haunting and lasting work." Read the complete review at latimes.com.
Traoré, Sellars, and cast member Tina Benko stopped by the studios at New York NPR member station WNYC for an appearance on Soundcheck to talk with host John Schaefer about Desdemona and perform live. You can listen to the segment here: