“It was a typical warm and luminous Mediterranean winter day,” Maya Beiser recalls. “We were driving through the winding road alongside the Dead Sea, deep in the Judea dessert. Occasionally, the knowledgeable Bedouin guide traveling with us would point out to an ancient dessert herb with magical medicinal powers. We started talking about ideas for a new collaboration.
“I thought it would be interesting to try and create a physical, theatrical environment for I am writing to you from a far-off country – a large scale dreamscape, multi-chapter piece which I privately called a “CelloOpera” , composed for me by Eve Beglarian with text by the Belgian Surrealist Henri Michaux. I have recorded the piece on my album Almost Human. The reviews were raving. Listeners seemed to respond to the lush, haunting music. But I felt that in performing the piece live I am missing something. It needed to “live” in its own space. It couldn’t function as “just” concert music. We needed to rethink the performance elements and contextualize the piece,” Maya writes. “Elsewhere, a Cello Opera was born.”
And so it comes to pass, that after a 10-day residency, contemporary cellist Maya Beiser will perform her inspired, psychological cello opera Elsewhere on Saturday, December 10, at 8 PM in MASS MoCA’S Hunter Center as part of MASS MoCA’s series of work-in-progress showings. Beiser, who has been christened the “cello goddess” by The New Yorker, will be accompanied during the residency by choreographer Karole Armitage and four dancers and the work will feature video from Peter Nigrini and environments by Riccardo Hernandez.