WORKS AND PROCESS: Guggenheim Museum – Peter & the Wolf
Review by: Anne Akers
Christmas in New York is like no other……….from the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center to the annual performance of the Radio City Rockettes, the energy is palpable as visitors and natives alike spread a little extra kindness and holiday spirit to all.
And if you are like so many, one of the special joys of the Season are the musical offerings, whether it is a performance of The Nutcracker at the Metropolitan Opera, a choral presentation at many of Manhattan’s iconic houses of worship, or, for me, a first time attendance at Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, as part of the Guggenheim’s Museum Works in Process series.
There is that moment in time when an audience becomes one, as parents, grandparents, children small enough to sit on one’s lap and adults gathered with childlike anticipation, gaze upon the opening act of this Christmas classic. The Peter Lewis Theatre is an intimate 285 seat “theatre in the round”, with the musicians to the right and several of the play’s characters, including a major cast member, The Bird, literally perched slightly above the sight line of the audience.
For the unindoctrinated, Prokofiev was commissioned in 1936 to introduce a light-hearted piece , which would introduce the instruments and sounds of the orchestra to children. Peter and the Wolf was a result, with each character represented by an instrument, i.e., a bird, the flute; a wolf, the French horn,etc.
The result is a magical afternoon, loved by children and adults alike, which comes alive with a gifted cast and the enormous gifts of Isaac Mizrahi, costume designer, producer/narrator and a natural story teller, blessed with musical instincts and a vivacious wit. Of note, although known as a leader in the fashion industry, Isaac also has his own production company, Isaac Mizrahi Entertainment, and performs cabaret across the country, including his upcoming appearance at New York’s Cafe Carlyle, Jan 21 thru
Feb 8, 2020.
This production was a delightful introduction to Guggenheim’s Works and Process, a performing art series, showcasing new works and acclaimed artists alike. In the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Peter B. Lewis theatre, programs explore the creative process through stimulating discussions and performance highlights. One-of-a-kind productions created for the Guggenheim’s rotunda offer a unique experience of the landmarks space, celebrating 60 years as an architectural icon. Described by the New York Times as “an exceptional opportunity to understand the creative process”, information about the 2020 season is available at www.worksandprocess.org.
Works & Process at the Guggenheim
Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi
December 7-15, 2019
“Book fast. This is a popular show.”
– The New Yorker
“A new holiday tradition”
– The New York Times
“Isaac Mizrahi…(is) a natural storyteller with musical instincts and vivacious wit.” – The New York Times
Video Preview – https://youtu.be/lwluEO88wxU
Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, presents
Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi from December 7-15, 2019, with performances Saturday, December 7 and 14 at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm; Sunday, December 8 and 15 at 2:30pm and 4pm; Friday, December 13 at 6:30pm
Isaac Mizrahi narrates and directs Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic. Ensemble Signal (conducted by Oliver Hagen from 12/7-8 and Brad Lubman from 12/13-15) performs the music, and the cast, wearing costumes by Mizrahi, performs choreography by John Heginbotham, bringing the 30-minute story to life for the young and young at heart.
In conjunction with the Sunday, December 8, 2:30pm performance and in partnership with the Guggenheim’s education department and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing there will be a Children’s Book Illustrator Series event. Two-time Caldecott Medal winning illustrator Chris Raschka, will read from his illustrated telling of Peter & The Wolf at 1:30 pm, followed by the performance. Tickets for this special event are $100/$95 member and include a signed copy of Chris Raschka’s Peter & the Wolf.
No matter how tall or small, everyone needs a ticket. Please enter via the ramp at the corner of 5th Ave & 88th St.
ABOUT PETER & THE WOLF
In 1936, Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned to write a light-hearted piece for children that would introduce the instruments and sounds of the orchestra. He was given a libretto, but he didn’t like it, so he came up with a new story. The music was completed in a week. Peter & the Wolf was the result, and it is a work still loved by children and adults. The story tells how Peter, against his grandfather’s will, opens the park gate, ventures into the big green meadow, and ultimately manages to liberate the City from the scary wolf. Peter captures the wolf with the help of a bird, his friend, and hands him over to the hunter, with a specific request: to take the wolf to the zoo. The narrator reads the story between the musical sections and each character in the story is represented by an instrument: Peter – strings; Grandfather – bassoon; Duck – oboe; Hunter – timpani; Bird – flute; Cat – clarinet; and Wolf – french horn.
Cast: Derrick Arthur, Kristen Foote, Marjorie Folkman, Mayfield Haynes, Daniel Pettrow, Macy Sullivan, Gus Solomons
TICKETS & VENUE
$45, $40 Guggenheim Members and Friends of Works & Process (unless otherwise noted)
House seats may be available for $1,000+ Friends of Works & Process. On a limited basis, house seats may be released to the public before performances at ticket prices of $90, $80 members.
Premium Front Row Ticketing: $100, $95 Friends of Works & Process and Guggenheim members.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue, New York
No matter how tall or small, everyone needs a ticket.
Please enter via the ramp at the corner of 5th Ave & 88th St.
Isaac Mizrahi (libra) has directed numerous theatrical productions and operas including a 2014 production of The Magic Flute at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Mizrahi has worked extensively in the theater both as a performer and a designer of sets and costumes. He was the subject and co-creator of Unzipped, a documentary following the making of his Fall 1994 ready-to-wear collection which received an award at the Sundance Film Festival. He has been a leader in the fashion industry for nearly 30 years and currently serves as the Chief Designer for the IMNYC Isaac Mizrahi and Isaac Mizrahi Live! collections. He hosted his own television talk show for five years, has written three books and has made countless appearances in movies and television. Mizrahi has his own production company, Isaac Mizrahi Entertainment, under which he has several projects in development in television, theatre and literature. His New York Times bestselling memoir, I.M., was published in February 2019. He performs cabaret across the country and will be appearing at Café Carlyle January 21-February 8, 2020.
Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, John Heginbotham (choreography) graduated from The Juilliard School in 1993, and was a member of Mark Morris Dance Group (1998-2012). In 2011, he founded Dance Heginbotham, which has been presented and commissioned by Baryshnikov Arts Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Duke Performances, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. John received a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship and in June 2014, he was awarded the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. John is currently a Research Fellow at the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron (NCCAkron), was awarded a 2017/18 New York City Center Choreography Fellowship, was a 2016 Fellow at NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts, and is a two-time recipient of the Jerome Robbins Foundation New Essential Works (NEW) Fellowship (2010, 2012). Sought-after as a freelance choreographer, John’s current projects include a new commission for The Washington Ballet, 2019; the Tony Award-winning Oklahoma!, directed by Daniel Fish(premiere at Bard Summerscape, 2015; St. Ann’s Warehouse, 2018; Broadway, 2019); and John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, directed by Peter Sellars (San Francisco Opera, 2017; Dutch National Opera, 2019). John is the Director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, and is a founding teacher of Dance for PD®, an ongoing collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group.
Brad Lubman, conductor/composer is founding Co-Artistic and Music Director of Ensemble Signal. Lubman is one of the foremost conductors of modern music and a leading figure in the field for over two decades. A frequent guest conductor of the world’s most distinguished orchestras and new music ensembles, he has gained widespread recognition for his versatility, commanding technique, and insightful interpretations. His flexibility in a variety of settings has led him to conduct a broad range of repertoire from classical to contemporary works, and to direct projects including orchestra, opera, multimedia, and mixed ensemble. Lubman has led major orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Filarmonica della Scala, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Dresden Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, RSO Stuttgart, WDR Symphony Cologne, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Finnish Radio Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, he has worked with some of the most important ensembles for contemporary music, including London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, musikFabrik and Steve Reich and Musicians. His own music has been performed in the USA and Europe, and can be heard on his CD, Insomniac, on Tzadik. Brad Lubman is on faculty at the Eastman School of Music and the Bang on a Can Summer Institute.
Grammy-winning pianist and conductor Oliver Hagen is currently on faculty at Juilliard Pre-College, Special Music School, and School for Strings in New York City. Hagen has performed with Ensemble Signal since its debut in 2008. Since then, he has appeared as a pianist in Signal performances at venues such as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, The Shed, Lincoln Center Festival, Library of Congress, Big Ears and Walt Disney Concert Hall. He has performed over 140 Steve Reich concerts with Signal including the world premiere of Reich/Richter and the US Premiere of Runner. He has also conducted Signal in Isaac Mizrahi’s Peter & The Wolf at The Guggenheim Museum (NY). Between 2010 and 2012, Hagen was the assistant conductor of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. While there, he worked with Pierre Boulez, Susanna Mälkki, and Matthias Pintscher, among others. Having had a strong association with the Lucerne Festival Academy, Hagen performed one of the solo piano parts in the 2009 performance of Pierre Boulez’s at the KKL Lucerne, with Pierre Boulez conducting. This will always be one of his most cherished memories. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Brad Lubman for many years.
Ensemble Signal, described by the New York Times as “one of the most vital groups of its kind,” is a NY-based ensemble dedicated to offering the broadest possible audience access to a diverse range of contemporary works through performance, commissioning, recording, and education. Signal was founded by Co-Artistic/Executive Director Lauren Radnofsky and Co-Artistic Director/Conductor Brad Lubman. Since its debut in 2008, Signal has performed over 300 concerts, given NY, world or US premieres of over 20 works, and co-produced ten recordings. Signal has appeared at Lincoln Center Festival, Walt Disney Concert Hall, BIG EARS, Cal Performances, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and The Library of Congress and has worked with artists including Reich, Lachenmann, Gordon, Lang, Wolfe, Knussen and Abrahamsen. Their recording of Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians released in May 2015 on harmonia mundi received a Diapason d’or and appeared on the Billboard Classical Crossover Charts. Throughout 2017-18, they performed the US premieres of Reich’s Runner at venues across the US. In the spring of 2019 Signal performed the world premiere of Reich’s Reich/Richter for large ensemble, with artwork and film by Gerhard Richter and Corinna Belz for the inaugural season of New York’s new multi-arts venue, The Shed.
Works & Process at the Guggenheim
Described by The New York Times as “an exceptional opportunity to understand something of the creative process,” for 35 years, New Yorkers have been able to see, hear, and meet the most acclaimed artists in the world, in an intimate setting unlike any other. Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, has championed new works and offered audiences unprecedented access to generations of leading creators and performers. Most performances take place in the Guggenheim’s intimate Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 273-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater. In 2017, Works & Process established a new residency and commissioning program, inviting artists to create new works, made in and for the iconic Guggenheim rotunda. worksandprocess.org.