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The Living Earth Show: Tremble Staves Workshop Performance

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 United States
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March 14, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Cost: Free
In March 2019, composer and visual artist Raven Chacon and The Living Earth Show will travel to University of Michigan to workshop their new piece Tremble Staves: a wordless water opera synthesizing mixed media installation, manipulation of natural and artificial light and sound, and theatrical performance depicting the urgent but approaching crisis of water shortage burdening the region from California to the Navajo deserts. The full piece will be premiered in June 2019 in the flooded ruins of Sutro Baths, an early 20th century outdoor pool complex whose concrete remains are now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This “workshop performance” in Ann Arbor, taking place in the lush setting of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens Conservatory, will feature one movement of Tremble Staves and will feature members of the U-M Percussion Ensemble.

NOTE: This event includes a performance of one movement. Each performance will last approximately 15 minutes, starting at 6:00 pm, 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm, with an Artist Q&A from 7:00-7:30 pm. Attendees are invited to explore the conservatory during and between performances. Free but tickets required for performances. Click here to reserve tickets.

Chacon’s opera connects narratives of the San Francisco Bay Area’s relationship with water to overlapping Navajo creation stories in which water figures prominently. The work will be performed, from memory, by the virtuosic musicians of The Living Earth Show, utilizing amplified antlers, tape reels, effected guitars, and water as a dynamic percussion instrument. With this palette, Chacon combines electro-acoustic noises, traditional Navajo music, field recordings, and extended techniques rooted in the musical lineage of classical chamber music to craft a vital sonic and visual landscape.

The opera presents the sacred element of water as a struck, manipulated, and amplified instrument–in reverence while simultaneously creating a sonic violence representative of continuing scarcity of this natural resource. The audience joins the performers in the environment, turning a public space into a sonic ecosystem in which all participants are surrounded by the element discussed and interrogated by the music. The intention is immersion; the opera immerses a congregation of audience members anchored in a pond of resonance; communally engaging in the work yet aware of their own complicity in the draining of the water.

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March 14, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 United States
+ Google Map
(734) 647-7600