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To Be Sung by Pascal Dusapin
The Irondale Center
Brooklyn, NY
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To Be Sung by Pascal Dusapin
To Be Sung is an opera in one act. The libretto was adapted by the composer from a short story by Gertrude Stein; A Lyrical Opera Made By Two (To Be Sung). As M. Dusapin states, this is my tribute to American literature. He continues, To Be Sung is an ambitious piece. I wanted to write something amniotic, extremely sensitive, that situates listening within an almost metaphysical feeling of understanding through light, that demands to be heard through the mystery of the eye.

Cast and Creative Team

Conductor, Sara Jobin
Director, Jorinde Keesmaat
Scenic Design, Sammy Van den Heuvel
Lighting Design, Abigail Hoke-Brady
Dramaturg, Koen Bollen
Piano, Jerome Tan

Soprano 1, Kristina Bachrach
Soprano 2, Danielle Buonaiuto
Soprano 3, Anna Trombetta
Speaker, Judith Skinner

Pascal Dusapin, Composer
Pascal Dusapin, born in 1955 in Nancy, was introduced to music at an early age. After hearing a jazz trio while on vacation with his family, he returned home with a longing to learn the clarinet. His father, however, insisted on piano lessons. When he was ten, Dusapin discovered the organ, an overwhelming passion that would carry him through his chaotic and unconventional adolescence. Growing up part time in a small village in the Lorraine and part time in a Parisian suburb, he embraced all genres with equal fervour, as enthusiastic about Bach as about the Doors, loving free jazz as much as Beethoven. But when he first heard Arcana by Edgar Varese at the University of Vincennes when he was 18, his life was transformed. From that moment, he knew that he would devote all of his time and energy to composition. From 1974 to 1978, he studied devotedly with Iannis Xenakis, whom he considered to be the modern descendant of Varese. Xenakis became his master in thinking differently, broadening his horizons to include architecture and mathematics. This was really his only formal education, probably because Xenakis asked for nothing and gave him everything.

In 1977 he won the Fondation de la Vocation prize and in 1988 he received an award from the Villa Médicis where he was resident for two years while he wrote Tre Scalini, Fist, and his first Quatuor, Niobé. He returned from Rome more determined than ever to live while composing and to compose while living. In the summer of 1986, he wrote Assaï for Dominique Bagouets ballet company. Their collaboration was rich, both personally and artistically, and the tour of Assaï led him to travel the world for several years.

In 1986, with the encouragement of Rolf Lieberman, he launched himself into the composition of his first opera, written in close collaboration with the author, Olivier Cadiot. Roméo & Juliette diverges from conventional intrigue and genre. It is a musical-literary revolution where each word is chosen for its sound and its rhythm and is then tightly intertwined with the completely unfettered music. The work premiered simultaneously in July of 1989 at the Montpellier Opera and at the Avignon Festival, before going on international tour. Henceforth, Pascal Dusapin would tie in his love of literature to his operatic works. Medeamaterial, based on the work by Heiner Müller opened at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels in 1991. This was followed by To Be Sung, based on Gertrude Steins work, and was created in tandem with the great mixed media artist and light designer, James Turell, at the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre. In 2003, Perelà, Uomo di fumo, based on the work by Aldo Palazzeschi, opened at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. Dusapin went on to write the librettos for his two latest operas: Faustus, The Last Night which opened at the Staatsoper in Berlin in 2006 and Passion which premiered at the Aix en Provence Festival in 2008.

Throughout the writing of his operas, various other works were born, including seven string quartets (the sixth with orchestra), and various vocal works such as La Melancholia, Granum Sinapis, Dona Eis. He also wrote Sept études pour piano, A Quia concerto for piano, and seven solos for orchestra: Go, Extenso, Apex, Clam, Exeo, Reverso (premiered by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Simon Rattle) and Uncut. This cycle of seven orchestral forms, composed between 1991 and 2009, is a long symphonic tale of life and of human emotions and artistry. A new cycle for orchestra is in development and is inspired by nature. Morning in Long Island will be the first part, suggested by the shapes of the wind.

Pascal Dusapin has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Cino del Duca prize in 2005, and the Dan David Price in 2007. Also in 2007 he was granted the title of Academician at the Bayerische Académie in Munich and became Artistic Chairman at the Collège de France, only the second composer after Pierre Boulez to hold the position. He has published a book based on his experiences and his conferences entitled Une musique en train de se faire (Music in the making, published by Seuil). In 2010 and 2011 he was Guest Professor at Musikhochschule in Munich.

Dusapins interests and passions are many, from morphogenesis to philosophy (with a particular interest in Deleuze), from photography, to architecture, to the theatre of Samuel Beckett, to Flauberts work, among others. All of these contribute to his freedom of invention, and allow multiple layers of meaning, understanding and emotion in his works. He has collaborated with many different artists, combining his multidisciplinary talents with theirs: Sasha Waltz, James Turell, Peter Mussbach, Laurence Equilbey, The Accroche Note Ensemble, the Berlin Philharmonic, Simon Rattle, and the Arditti Quartet. New projects have also brought him into the realm of electronics on a grand scale in such exceptional venues as the Grand Palais for the Monumenta by Richard Serra or the beach at Deauville for the 150th anniversary of the city.

A unique artist, Pascal Dusapin continues his musical journey, formal and yet never dogmatic, offering his fiercely emotional music through a great range of diverse forms.

Courtesy of Universal Music

Sara Jobin, Conductor

Grammy-nominated conductor Sara Jobin has a passion for opera, new and American repertoire, and sacred music.

In 2004 she had the honor of making history as the first woman to conduct mainstage subscription performances at San Francisco Opera, conducting Tosca with Carol Vaness and Der fliegende Holländer with Nina Stemme, and has returned to their podium for 16 performances of five different productions since then including Philip Glass Appomattox and the world premiere production of The Secret Garden. She is Chief Conductor of the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York, Resident Conductor of the Toledo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Toledo Opera, and has guest conducted the opera companies in Arizona, Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara, Anchorage, Tacoma, and Idaho where she is Music Director of the Made In America series. She has also conducted the Dayton Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, Orchestra of St. Lukes, and the Bochumer Philharmoniker. She has led American operas in Szeged and Avignon and brought one in workshop form to Shanghai. Her first full-length recording, the hilarious Volpone by John Musto, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Her discography also proudly includes a Brubeck premiere with beloved mezzo Frederica von Stade.

Named a Leonard Bernstein Music Scholar by Harvard College, Jobin tends to defy traditional categories. She earned her black belt in judo on the same day as conducting Beethovens Fifth Symphony for the first time. She sang for many years in the Glide Ensemble, a gospel choir featured in the movie The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith, prefers to ride a bicycle for transportation year round, and is looking for more opportunities to conduct sacred music. Tired of operas where the women die victimized by society, Ms. Jobin founded the Different Voice Opera Project in collaboration with Carol Gilligan.

Jorinde Keesmaat, Stage Director
Jorinde Keesmaat is a freelance stage director of opera performances and staged classical concerts in the Netherlands and abroad and is appointed Guest Director-in-Residence at the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York.

Keesmaat creates multi-disciplinary performances that have a search for relationships between the individual spectator and the actors and musicians. Conventions as well as the established boundaries between classical concerts, opera and theatre performances have moved to the background. In addition to regular theatre and concert halls her performances regularly take place in unconventional venues..

Jorinde Keesmaat is the permanent director of the concert series TRACKS at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. She also directed a semi-staged version of Mozarts operas Don Giovanni, Zauberflöte and Le Nozze di Figaro, commissioned by the Residentie Orkest. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra asked Keesmaat to direct the opera Hans en Grietje. In 2015, Keesmaat directed the opera La Clemenza di Tito at Opera National de Montpellier.

Keesmaat also directed the first concert  with Geert Mak and Andreas Scholl  in a series of jubilee concerts in honor of the 125th anniversary of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. For a jubilee concert of Theater Carré in Amsterdam, Keesmaat made the show 1000 stemmen in Carré, a concert with a thousand singers composed by Merlijn Twaalfhoven. The Grachtenfestival 2015 commissioned Keesmaat to direct the Opening concert. Jorinde Keesmaat regularly directs projects for the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, Noord Nederlands Orkest, Gelders Orkest and the Residentie Orchestra.

Jorinde Keesmaat was appointed Guest Director-in-Residence for the period of 2016-2018 at the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York to direct a series of four productions over a three-year period. The residency began in October 2016 with a highly acclaimed production consisting of two works by Louis Andriessen: Anaïs Nin & Odysseus Women. This production also took place at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam on December 9th, 2016.


The Irondale Center (View)
85 South Oxford
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States


Arts > Opera

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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