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Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

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Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

Composed by Bryce Dessner
Libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle 
Featuring words by Essex Hemphill & Patti Smith
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Associate Director Lilleth Glimcher
Featuring Roomful of Teeth 
with Alicia Hall Moran & Isaiah Robinson

Thirty years after photographer and visual artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s untimely death, it’s difficult to turn away from the compelling emotional complexity of his influential body of work.  In this new performance piece, music, poetry, and photography come together in a theatrical context, exploring the impact Mapplethorpe’s work had on the lives and careers of composer Bryce Dessner (The National) and librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle. 

This major collaboration with director Kaneza Schaal, features the poetry of Tuttle, Essex Hemphill, Patti Smith, and others as well as the choral group Roomful of Teeth. It revisits the formative impact of Mapplethorpe’s work, inviting the audience to simultaneously experience Dessner’s music against some of the most captivating and divisive words and images the world has ever known. 

Through music and large-scale projection of Mapplethorpe’s images, this extraordinary work allows the audience to peer inside Mapplethorpe’s bold, insatiable view of how human beings look, touch, feel, hurt, and love one another. 

Triptych will contain a frank discussion of sexuality, queer identity, and race, and may include photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe depicting sexuality, sexual acts, nudity, flowers, and classical portraiture. 

View event program.

Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann 
in Cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Music Direction & Conducting by Brad Wells 
Set & Costume Design by Carlos Soto
Lighting Design by Yuki Nakase
Video by Simon Harding

TRIPTYCH was commissioned by Texas Performing Arts, and Produced in Residency with and Commissioned by University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Co-produced by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Music and Artistic Director. TRIPTYCH was co-commissioned by BAM; Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece; Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati, OH; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Stanford Live, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Adelaide Festival, Australia; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for performance as part of DirectCurrent 2019; ArtsEmerson: World on Stage, Emerson College, Boston, MA; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; the Momentary, Bentonville, AR, Celebrity Series, Boston, MA; and developed in residency with MassMOCA, North Adams, MA.

Presented in partnership with the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism at The Department of Theatre and Dance and KUTX’s Eklektikos with John Aielli

This performance is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Witty and wicked...forbidding and seductive...Dessner is at his best...The language is stylized and extravagantly poetic, matching the photographs’ explicit sexual content while meeting their cool elegance with punk Romanticism.

The New York Times

Finding Poetry and Music in Mapplethorpe from BAMorg on YouTube.

Fun Facts:

  • Composer Bryce Dessner is also the guitarist for the Grammy award-winning band, The National.
  • As a young man growing up in Cincinnati, Dessner was fascinated by the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe, who’s legendary photography and art was featured on as the album cover of close friend Patti Smith’s Horses and Television’s Marquee Moon.
  • Korde Arrington Tuttle’s debut collection of haiku and photography, Falling is the One Thing I, was published by Candor Arts, in May 2018.
  • After working for The Wooster Group as Kate Valk’s assistant on The Summer Institute, a free program for NYC public school students, Kaneza Schaal was offered the position of Company Manager.