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NYT Review: A B-Movie Starlet Becomes an Opera Diva in ‘Acquanetta’

By Seth Colter Walls
January 10, 2018

A large screen looms over the stage. Projected onto it is a black-and-white close-up on an eyeball, fluttering in a state of nervous distress.

An overture, powered by distorted electric guitar and staccato strings, accompanies this sooty B-movie-style image. A choir grasps toward high-pitched wails. Everything blares.

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I became a composer because, when I was nine years old, I saw a movie of Leonard Bernstein conducting Shostakovich’s First Symphony with the New York Philharmonic. I fell in love immediately with the music of Shostakovich, with the idea of being a composer, with the orchestra itself. I was so in love with Shostakovich, in fact, that I immersed myself in his music, and then all Russian music, then I studied the Russian language in school, I read all the Russian literature I could find, and I spent the summer of 1975 studying in the Soviet Union.

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On January 20, Julia Wolfe joins the U-M Contemporary Directions Ensemble, directed by Oriol Sans, for an evening of conversation and performances of her small ensemble works.

This concert is part of a week-long residency by Ms. Wolfe (a U-M alum) to develop Fire in my Mouth, an evening-length orchestral work co-commissioned by UMS with the New York Philharmonic, Cal Performances and the Krannert Center.

This event is free and open to the public; no tickets required.

PROGRAM
With a blue dress on (2010)
Cha (2015)
Dark Full Ride (2009)
Tell me everything (1994)