GELSEY KIRKLAND ARTS CENTER - PROTOTYPE FESTIVAL
January 14-18, 2020
TICKETS AND INFO at prototypefestival.org
A remarkable operatic poem, Ellen West plunges into the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of a woman struggling with perceptions of her body, her relationship with food, and the world closing in around her. Inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis, poet Frank Bidart and composer Ricky Ian Gordon examine the lives of psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger and his patient, Ellen West. Bidart’s poem, which serves as the opera’s libretto, juxtaposes the clinical observations of Binswanger with fictitious entries of Ellen’s journals, illuminating a psychological portrait of a woman at war with her body.
The poem Ellen West by Frank Bidart, which serves as the libretto for this opera, can be found here.
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects: Beth Morrison, President and Creative Producer; Opera Saratoga: Lawrence Edelson, Artistic and General Director; The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund and David and Kiki Gindler. The development of Ellen West was funded, in part, by an award from OPERA America’s Opera Fund: Repertoire Development Fund. Co-produced with Saratoga Opera.
“Ricky Ian Gordon’s riveting one act opera…”
– The Wall Street Journal
“Extraordinary… the music was beautifully lyrical.”
– The Daily Gazette
“Seldom is opera so deeply personal… You want to turn away but you can’t.”
– Times Union
“If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence… It’s caviar for a world gorging on pizza!”
– The New York Times