Friday, November 27, 2009

Jan 28, PuSh Festival: Smulovitz score for Dreyer's JOAN

Just received a Spotlight email from the PuSh Festival profiling both Reid Farrington's PASSION PROJECT, which plays on the Pacific Theatre stage Jan 27 - Feb 6, but also its sister project, a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent film masterpiece on which the Farrington piece is based, with a live performance score by Vancouver composer Stefan Smulovitz. The presentation of these two radically contemporary engagements with this seminal film provides an extraordinary opportunity to engage with one of the great works of spiritual cinema.

I strongly encourage anyone who plans to see either work to book tickets for both. In fact, Pacific Theatre will be moderating a conversation with Smulovitz and Farrington between the 7pm and 9pm showing of THE PASSION PROJECT on our opening night, Wednesday February 27, the night before the premiere (one performance only) of his score at the Cathedral. That promises to be a fascinating interaction, between two cutting-edge artists from separate cities who have immersed themselves in the world of Dreyer and St. Joan.

PuSh 2010 Curatorial Statement: The Passion of Joan of Arc
by PuSh Festival Executive Director Norman Armour

There are some curatorial decisions that take seemingly never ending thought, consideration, re-consideration, strategizing with logistics, timing venue and the like. Other choices can feel instantaneous. They have a sense of grace. Commissioning Stefan Smulovitz to write an original score for Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc could not have been simpler, more immediate, more straightforward.

Like This Riot Life, our commissioned song cycle by from Veda Hille for the 2007 PuSh Festival, reaching out to Stefan is reaching to an artist who is synonymous with the contours of Vancouver’s contemporary performing arts scene. Think of his ongoing project, the Eye of Newt Ensemble, and what comes to mind is a fluid, morphing group of the city’s finest musicians. Think of the countless live films scores he and Eye of Newt have engineered over the past decade; the list is truly endless. These structured improvisations have ranged from intimate encounters with Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin at the now defunct Blinding Light Cinema to the legendary Silent Summer Nights film and music events in Commercial Drive’s Grandview Park. The Sunday eve grand finale would involve a “Monster Orchestra” of upwards of twenty musicians, singers, and even at times maestros Coat Cooke and Giorgio Magnanensi playing tag team, as a sort extreme musical sport.

Stefan is a leader in our community. This is true just by considering the level of respect, admiration and love that both artists and audiences feel for him. Made complete with the stunning voice of Viviane Houle, 10 players, new text by Colin Browne and the church’s magnificent Tracker organ, you won't want to miss this one-night only concert.

The Passion of Joan of Arc is part of the 2010 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and is presented with Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. January 28 at 8pm, Christ Church Cathedral. Click here for full details.

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