May 17, 2014
After first hearing Krystina Marcoux’s fiery, solo performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto back in 2013, it was with a lot of anticipation that I attended Luna Pearl Woolf’s original voiceless opera Mélange à Trois with the BIK ensemble last Friday, May 16th at McGill University’s Pollack Hall.
MÉLANGE À TROIS is an instrumental theater work, set for violin, cello and percussion.
In this voiceless opera, each musician embodies a character in an enchanting tale of misplaced love. The three musicians/actors; dynamic and versatile Krystina Marcoux on percussion, skilled violinist Alexander Read and charming Juan Sebastian Delgado on the cello, were very convincing as they weaved the tale of passionate love and jealousy through the voices of their instruments.
The trio, along with composer Woolf and stage director Brian Staufenbiel, already work shopped the piece during a two week residency at the Banff Center of Fine Arts. A final week of residency in Montreal permitted the ensemble to present a superb premiere with a flowing score, rich staging and intriguing narrative.
The piece exploits the beauty and physicality of various percussion instruments that ornate the stage. From the opening scene we see a couple (a percussionist and cellist) in close embrace. The body of the cello becomes the percussionist’s instrument –a tool which she uses to communicate her amorous feelings towards the cellist. The next scene reveals a superb sculpture garden in which chimes, bells, and drums share statuesque frameworks with abstract thunder-sheets. Trouble arises between the couple and the mounting tension results into an explosive dialogue of percussive beats and drumming. A suave violist steps into the picture and soothes the couple with his languorous melodies…which leads to a dining table that is set for three. This is where all the trappings of a finely arrayed table-setting give expression to the percussionist’s voice and leads to her up-coming downfall. What happens next is no less than stupefying and might make your heart skip a beat !
McGill Pollack Hall is blessed with wonderful acoustics and is easily accessible by car or by public transport. It is certainly a great location for up-coming young musicians to have their first public performances as well as for music fans to enjoy numerous performances at little or no cost.
To know more about the ensemble:
To know more about the artistic team:
For those seeking to catch an upcoming performance at McGill’s Pollack Hall please visit:
By: Genevieve P.M. Roy
Read at: Mountain Lake, PBS