Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOW series to premiere “Savior,” about Joan of Arc

Posted on: March 29, 2018

Composer Amy Beth Kirsten’s “long fascination with the miraculous details of the historic Joan of Arc’s story” has resulted in Savior, “a 65-minute vocal and instrumental theater work commissioned for MusicNOW,” the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new-music series, writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (3/28) Chicago Tribune. The work premieres Monday, April 2. “Kirsten wrote both the music and libretto, and she will direct the performance, a collaboration between CSO musicians and guest artists from her New Haven, Conn.-based ensemble HOWL…. The conception and stage layout straddle the fence between concert and theater. Three women’s voices represent Joan; flutist Tim Munro … and a mezzo-soprano represent Joan’s divine voices; and the recorded voice of actor Sandy Smillie represents a reporter at Joan’s trial. The instrumentalists (including CSO cellist Katinka Kleijn and percussionist Cynthia Yeh) represent her interrogators…. The musician-actors will be performing not from sheet music but from electronic copies of the score scrolling across the screens of their iPads. This, Kirsten explained, will allow them to move about the stage more freely and interact more directly, as key moments of Joan’s life play out through music, sound, movement and various forms of stage artifice…. The score does not call for a conductor.”

Posted March 29, 2018

Photo of composer Amy Beth Kirsten by Gennadi Novash