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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ensemble Parallèle Pushes Gertrude Stein's Opera Four Saints in Three Acts Further into the Avante-Garde

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 2:00 PM

  • Steve DiBartolomeo

When she wasn't busy collecting art, fomenting literary movements, and dissing her childhood home in Oakland, Gertrude Stein used her inimitable talents to help create a most inimitable opera -- 1934's Four Saints in Three Acts.

Beginning Thursday, this vision is taken up in a new production by Ensemble Parallèle, which further ups the avant-garde quotient by opening with the premiere of A Heavenly Act, a multimedia "opera-installation" by composer Luciano Chessa and artist Kalup Linzy.

It reinterprets the themes and content of Four Saints, and it aims to create an aesthetic dialogue with Stein and Virgil Thomson's work. What with all the instrumentalists, the vocalists, the video projections, and the performance art, there should be plenty of there there.

Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera Installation runs Aug. 18-21 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; admission is $35-$85.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Emily Hilligoss


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