Events

In Downtown LA, a Dance Set to the World War Two-Era “Quartet for the End of Time”

On June 16 and 17, Susan Silton is restaging the quartet Olivier Messiaen wrote while imprisoned in a camp, accompanied by a minimal score choreographed by Flora Wiegmann.

Dorothea Lange, “Manzanar Relocation Center, Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority” (1942); Stalag VIII A, (1942) (courtesy of Susan Silton)

The 20th-century avant-garde composer Olivier Messiaen wrote “Quartet for the End of Time” while imprisoned in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, using the only available instruments: piano, violin, cello, and clarinet. Employing unconventional time and rhythm, and influenced by birdsong (Messiaen was an avid ornithologist), the piece conveys a sense of disorientation and anxiety, a reflection of life during wartime as well as the overarching apocalyptic theme.

Sensing resonances between Messiaen’s inspirations and our contemporary challenging political moment, artist Susan Silton decided to restage the work in a large warehouse space in downtown LA, not far from the site of her 2015 operatic piece A Sublime Madness in the Soul. The all-female cast and crew will feature four musicians accompanied by four dancers performing a minimal score choreographed by Flora Wiegmann. The work will be preceded by an introductory reading by Cristina Frias of a text by Hannah Arendt, well known for her writings on totalitarianism.

When: Friday, June 16 & Saturday, June 17, 8:30pm nightly (free with RSVP)
Where: (1399 Factory Place, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info here.

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