THE DIFFICULTY OF CROSSING A FIELD
A Ridge Theater Production
Composed by David Lang | Libretto by Mac Wellman
Conducted by Douglas Kinney Frost
Directed by Bob McGrath
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, an opera based on an Ambrose Bierce story of the same name, is about a slave owner (Mr. Williamson) in the pre-civil war American South who walks across his field and disappears, in plain view of his family, his neighbors and his slaves, forever altering the relationships among them. Everyone around him has his or her own sharp view of what that disappearance means, of why it had to happen, and of what will happen now that there is a ‘hole’ where a man used to be.
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field is intended to cross between opera and theater worlds, mixing arias with spoken text, emotional melodies with intense drama. It is written for 5 principals and a small chorus, and the accompaniment is for string quartet on stage, both as the “orchestra” and as part of the set. Ultimately, it is an opera in which the damage done by slavery leaks from the physical to the metaphysical world.
The 2015 Commerical Recording of
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field
is now available.
BMP was proud to co-produce this recording with Canteloupe Music
“The Difficulty of Crossing a Field is a major contribution to American Musical Theater…This astonishing work must not be allowed to vanish into thin air. I know I can’t get it out of my head.”
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times