Neither at BAM

If you know Samuel Beckett’s work, you know he will make you feel anxious–about time, about dying, about biscuits–without any calming balm. His short piece Neither (it runs about sixteen lines of text) is stunning on the page, but alive–so alive–on the stage.

Neither, is an opera with libretto by Beckett and music by Morton Feldman that first premiered in 1977; it newly premiered on Wednesday as an original representation with eleven dancers by choreographer Shen Wei at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It’s a triple threat of artistic genius, really.

When Feldman first met Beckett in 1976, they agreed that music and words were better left apart, and indeed, this is the only opera Feldman composed and the only organized musical literary setting that Beckett approved during his life. They call it an anti-opera. I call it a masterpiece of sensations through imagery.

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