Melville and the Great
Providence International Arts Festival
June 13, 2015 – 7:00 & 9:00 PM
City Hall Council Chambers, 25 Dorrance St.
Aurea, a Rhode Island performance ensemble with a superb string quartet at its core, begins with the question: “What happens when artists meet at the margins of their disciplines and push the boundaries back and forth?”
A single Aurea performance might encompass poetry, music, drama, puppets and dance, reflecting the alchemical origins of its name. (Catena Aurea Homeri, or the Golden Chain of Homer, was a symbol of 18th century esoteric alchemy.) Through harmony and discord, poetry and prose, classical and folk music, Aurea investigates our world and the possibilities of human expression.
Over the years Aurea has premiered five different pieces with FirstWorks, and performed at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Now they return to the FirstWorks stage with Melville and the Great White Whale. They embark on a journey through one of history’s most epic and beloved tales, using music and words to explore its philosophical themes. Incorporating passages of the novel, Melville’s personal letters to Hawthorne, string arrangements from Beethoven and Webern and, of course, vocal sea shanties, this full-length piece offers new perspectives of a story that’s familiar to us all. That alchemy of combining disparate elements and fusing them into something new and divine is what defines Aurea, and what makes Melville and the Great White Whale so invigorating.