Kafka-Fragments

March 18, 20, and 22, 2015 at the Sheen Center Blackbox

Music by György Kurtág (b. 1926) and text by Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

Kurtág’s magnum opus Kafka-Fragments (1985-7) captures forty fleeting moments. Two travelers - Annie Rosen, mezzo soprano, and Jacob Ashworth, violin - are intertwined in a kaleidoscopic dream. In brief bursts of meaning, we witness a montage of human experience: memories, joys, woes, and exclamations illuminate the void and disappear like shooting stars.  Kurtág chose these forty fragments largely from Kafka's letters to Milena Jesenska and from the so-called Blue Octavo Notebooks. They range from ironic observations to philosophical musings, to fantastical visions.

Ethan Heard (Direction), Reid Thompson (Set), Beth Goldenberg (Costumes), Oliver Wason (Lighting), Nicholas Hussong (Projections), Sonja Thorson (Stage Management)

With a voice that "switches from honeylike to powerful and even frightening in seconds" (New Haven Independent), mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen lends her distinctive artistry to early, standard, and contemporary repertoire. In April she joins the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center for emerging artists. Last summer she covered the role of Ni Gui-zhen in the premiere of Huang Ruo's Mandarin-language opera Dr. Sun Yat-Sen with the Santa Fe Opera, as well as singing Kitty Oppenheimer in excerpts from John Adams' Doctor Atomic. Past opera credits include the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Teatro Regio di Torino, among others.  A chamber music devotee, with Cantata Profana she has added Ligeti's Nouvelles aventures, Berio's Folk Songs, atonal music of Webern and Stravinsky, and Thomas Adès' Life Story to her concert repertoire. She joyfully returns to Heartbeat Opera after performing Anna I in last season's Die Sieben Todsünden

Jacob Ashworth, Violin

Jacob Ashworth serves as violinist, conductor, and Artistic Director of the vocal and instrumental chamber ensemble Cantata Profana, and as Co-Music Director for Heartbeat Opera. A performer of all styles, Jacob has been praised by the NYTimes as a baroque violinist for his “diligent attention to period style,” and is a current member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble, while his other recent highlights range from a recital of the complete Brahms sonatas to a staged production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire at the Yale Cabaret, a tour in Mexico to premiere his commission of Francisco Ladrón de Guevara’s Variations for Solo Violin, and conducting the premiere of Daniel Schlosberg’s opera Frau Trude.  Performances as a duo with pianist Lee Dionne have recently included the premiere of Susan Kander’s Hermestänze, a cycle for violin and piano which Jacob also commissioned. Jacob continues to exhibit a virtuosic breadth of ability and deep love of collaboration this season, returning for concerts in Mexico, giving recitals in New York, New Jersey, and New Haven, visiting Canada and New Hampshire for artist residencies, and touring Europe with the Yale Schola Cantorum.

Photos by Christopher Ash & Jill Steinberg