Robert Ashley | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Robert Ashley


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In 1985 the Museum of Contemporary Art presented an anniversary commission at the Goodman Theatre, an opera by composer and performance artist Robert Ashley called Atalanta (Acts of God). The work exemplified Ashley's longtime interest in the coordination between musical ideas and visual media--in this case, video. Now Ashley returns to Chicago for the local premiere of My Brother Called, the first section of El Aficionado. The text--presented in a first-person monologue and incorporating a mixture of traditional vocal technique, jazz vocalizing, and ordinary speech--is based on incidents in the life of a secret agent. The piece was commissioned by baritone Thomas Buckner, who premiered it last year and who will perform it here, along with Ashley and "Blue" Gene Tyranny on piano. The solo voice and two pianos will combine with synthesized orchestral and choral effects on tape; secondary voices will speak from the audience. Ashley's experiments are always interesting and usually aesthetically rewarding. Tuesday, 6 PM, Rubloff Auditorium, Art institute of Chicago, Columbus and Monroe; 443-3711.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruno Bruni.

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