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    Watch: Adam Guettel's 'Myths and Hymns' Presented by MasterVoices in Four-Part Digital Series
    Mikyung Lee

    Composer Adam Guettel's theatrical song cycle Myths and Hymns, the recording of which was released on Nonesuch Records in 1999, is the central project of MasterVoices' 2020–21 season, beginning with last night's event, which can be seen below. Inspired by Greek myths and a 19th-century Presbyterian hymnal, the 1998 cycle is a kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres as it explores the nature of faith and longing in a secular world. In an online staging conceived by the ensemble's Artist Director, Ted Sperling—the music director of the original Nonesuch recording—new short musical films will illustrate the protagonist’s exploration of Flight, Work, Love, and Faith over twenty-three episodes.

    The four chapters will be released in free digital installments throughout the winter and spring. The first chapter—featuring dozens of artists, including Julia Bullock, Renée Fleming, Norm Lewis, Joshua Henry, Kelli O'Hara, José Llana, and Annie Golden—premiered last night and can be seen below. (Llana and Golden can be heard on the Nonesuch recording; Llana can also be heard on David Byrne's Here Lies Love cast album.) The three subsequent chapters will stream on mastervoices.org and the ensemble’s YouTube channel on February 24, April 14, and May 26.

    Following his Obie Award–winning 1996 musical Floyd Collins, for which Ted Sperling served as Music Director and Nonesuch released the cast recording, Adam Guettel’s next project was the song cycle Myths and Hymns. The songs were inspired by two very different sources: the ancient Greek stories of Icarus, Pegasus, Hero and Leander, and Sisyphus; and Protestant hymn of texts that the composer found in an antique hymnal. It was workshopped in several forms and venues and ultimately performed as Saturn Returns in an extended run at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1998. The Nonesuch recording—which features Guettel, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Porter, Theresa McCarthy, and Darius de Haas, among others—used the original title, and ever since then the work has been known as Myths and Hymns.

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Watch: Adam Guettel's 'Myths and Hymns' Presented by MasterVoices in Four-Part Digital Series

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on January 14, 2021 - 9:30am
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Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 09:30
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Composer Adam Guettel's theatrical song cycle Myths and Hymns, the recording of which was released on Nonesuch in 1999, is the central project of MasterVoices' 2020–21 season. In an online staging conceived by the ensemble's Artist Director, Ted Sperling—the music director of the original Nonesuch recording—new short musical films will illustrate the protagonist’s exploration of Flight, Work, Love, and Faith over twenty-three episodes. The first chapter—featuring dozens of artists, including Julia Bullock, Renée Fleming, Norm Lewis, Joshua Henry, José Llana, and Kelli O'Hara—premiered last night and can be seen here. The three subsequent chapters will stream on February 24, April 14, and May 26.

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Composer Adam Guettel's theatrical song cycle Myths and Hymns, the recording of which was released on Nonesuch Records in 1999, is the central project of MasterVoices' 2020–21 season, beginning with last night's event, which can be seen below. Inspired by Greek myths and a 19th-century Presbyterian hymnal, the 1998 cycle is a kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres as it explores the nature of faith and longing in a secular world. In an online staging conceived by the ensemble's Artist Director, Ted Sperling—the music director of the original Nonesuch recording—new short musical films will illustrate the protagonist’s exploration of Flight, Work, Love, and Faith over twenty-three episodes.

The four chapters will be released in free digital installments throughout the winter and spring. The first chapter—featuring dozens of artists, including Julia Bullock, Renée Fleming, Norm Lewis, Joshua Henry, Kelli O'Hara, José Llana, and Annie Golden—premiered last night and can be seen below. (Llana and Golden can be heard on the Nonesuch recording; Llana can also be heard on David Byrne's Here Lies Love cast album.) The three subsequent chapters will stream on mastervoices.org and the ensemble’s YouTube channel on February 24, April 14, and May 26.

Following his Obie Award–winning 1996 musical Floyd Collins, for which Ted Sperling served as Music Director and Nonesuch released the cast recording, Adam Guettel’s next project was the song cycle Myths and Hymns. The songs were inspired by two very different sources: the ancient Greek stories of Icarus, Pegasus, Hero and Leander, and Sisyphus; and Protestant hymn of texts that the composer found in an antique hymnal. It was workshopped in several forms and venues and ultimately performed as Saturn Returns in an extended run at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1998. The Nonesuch recording—which features Guettel, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Porter, Theresa McCarthy, and Darius de Haas, among others—used the original title, and ever since then the work has been known as Myths and Hymns.

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Adam Guettel: "Myths and Hymns," MasterVoices. Artwork by Mikyung Lee

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