Music Director Robert Spano will lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the Atlanta Symphony premiere and Theater of a Concert presentation of John Adams's A Flowering Tree June 7 and 9, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. in Atlanta Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center.
Of the opera, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Vice President for Artistic Planning Evans Mirageas said:
John Adams's latest opera, A Flowering Tree, is a love story with a very happy ending. Beneath this romantic surface is an equally powerful message that true love and wisdom are often gained only through sacrifice and trial. This fifth-century South Indian folktale was chosen by John Adams and his longtime collaborator Peter Sellars as a modern response to the message of Mozart's final opera masterpiece, The Magic Flute. In Mozart's opera, a prince and princess are separated by fate and duty. After a series of harrowing trials they are reunited, having gained newfound wisdom and tolerance for the ways of others. This powerful message of understanding that crosses class and race is central to both operas. In A Flowering Tree, John Adams has created his most romantic and luminous score to date with arias, duets, great choruses, and stunning writing for a full (unamplified) symphony orchestra. All the pageantry, color, and beauty of ancient South India come into life in the hands of the man who has been called our finest living composer and the most potent composer of opera today.
A Flowering Tree premiered on November 14, 2006, at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, and has also been performed in San Fransico, Berlin, and London.
This unique Theater of a Concert presentation of A Flowering Tree, with stage direction by James Alexander, will feature the unveiling of a brand-new staging experience, Symphony V.0 - an innovation venture between Clark, a technology solutions group in Alpharetta, GA, and James Alexander. With this production, the Atlanta Symphony will be the first orchestra to use this multi-dimensional technology, utilizing state-of-the-art HD capture techniques and a proprietary motion graphics content delivery system.
"This is an incredibly elegant use of technology and visual effects," said Dorian Usherwood, who specializes in business development and live effects at Clark. "Essentially, we're creating a juxtaposition between the greatest technology available and the exceptional musicality of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra."
In past seasons, Theater of a Concert presentations have included film and projected images synchronized with the music, lighting effects, art installations, and semi-staged performances of operas, creating a marriage of the auditory and the visual, and allowing concertgoers to connect with the music on multiple levels. Full English surtitles of the opera's text will also be projected above the stage. Previous Theater of a Concert presentations have included Doctor Atomic, Ainadamar, Haydn's Creation, Bach's St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion, and Puccini's La bohème and Madama Butterfly, among others.
"Inherently, concerts are theatrical because they take place on a stage. Certain repertoire further invites theatrical treatment affording us an opportunity to enhance the concert experience in powerful ways," Music Director Robert Spano has said. "That's the philosophy behind the Theater of a Concert."
The program will feature the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, under the direction of Norman Mackenzie, and numerous guest artists, including the three vocalists who sang in the opera's world premiere: soprano Jessica Rivera, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and tenor Russell Thomas, a resident of Atlanta.