1433 – The Grand Journey in Taipei
After his return from his vacation in the Far East he will dive right back into his work on 1433 – The Grand Journey, which describes the westward journey of the great admiral Zheng He just before China closed itself off and built the Great Wall. The fleet of Zheng He was as superior in size to any other nations fleet as the Rockies to the Catskills or Tiger Woods’ golfing skills (which he still has) to any amateurs.
Incidentally Gavin Menzies wrote a book about this journey that was just published in which he claims that Zheng He’s journey ingnited the Renaissance. Read the book and come to Taiwan on February 20th for the opening. Taipei is worth a trip even though the Taipei 101 is not the tallest building in the world anymore since yesterday.
This production with the U-Theater of Taipei and music by Ornette Coleman and Dicky Landry is being co-produced by our old and good partners Change Performing Arts and will also be seen at the Esplanade in Singapore and hopefully travel around the globe as well just as Zheng He did.
Three Penny Opera and Happy Days
Of course February 20th is too long to wait until the next Wilson show for some of you so I am glad to inform you that there will be four guest performances from January 14th through 17th of Bob’s hit production of the Three Penny Opera in Athens. Also Bob’s Happy Days, his first encounter with Beckett, is touring Europe in the coming months. Check for dates of this inspiring production with the wonderful Adriana Asti near you.
After Taipei Bob will head westwards as well. In Zurich he will start working on a new production of Bellini’s Norma that is scheduled to open in 2011. It will be his first Bellini and probably strictly speaking his first belcanto opera.
The Steiger Award
On March 13 in Bochum Bob will be awarded the Steiger Award in the category Art. Previous recipients in various categories included the German Aussenminister legend Hans Dietrich Genscher, Sir Bob Geldof, and Bob’s good friend Farah Diba Pahlavi.
Krapp’s Last Tape
He will then climb the stage again at the festival in Bogota, Colombia for 5 performances of Krapp’s Last Tape on March 19th through March 21st. For anyone who has missed Bob in Luxembourg or Spoleto, Ferrara or Naples as Beckett’s alcoholic alter ego, pack your bags to go to Bogota or send a festival director near you to go and see him as it will surely result in an invitation to your local festival or theater (I am talking in particular about Bob’s home town of New York).
Three Penny Opera (Again!)
After a workshop for a new play by Dare Clubb, a collaboration with the Theater Department of the University of Iowa, that started at Watermill in the summer, Bob will be going to Paris for 4 more performances of Three Penny Opera at the Theatre de la Ville starting on April first. The first run of absolutely sold out performances in September was enjoyed by a group of supporters of the Watermill Center and Paris society ranging from the cultural minister and mayor of the city of Paris to Bianca Jagger and Farah Diba.
For those of you who are not lovers of Paris (are there any?) and cannot compete with the fury of the Parisian ticket buyers, the Berliner Ensemble has prepared a Wilson Feast in February with 3x Three Penny Opera, 4x Shakespeare Sonnets and the last performances of Bob’s production of Buechner’s Leonce and Lena with music by German rockstar Herbert Groenemeyer. Tickets are already on sale and still available.
Shakespeare’s Poem Cycle and Katja Kabanova
Talking about the Shakespeare Sonnets, let us make a quick jump ahead to June 25th (and I promise I will come back to March, I just want to talk about the warmer months for a second). Bob and Rufus Wainwrights’ take on Shakespeare’s Poem Cycle will open the festival in Spoleto, Italy. And since Bob’s production of Katja Kabanova in Prague, his first Janacek, is going to open at the beautiful National Theater in Prague the day after, we will offer a trip for donors of the Watermill Center again around these dates. More details will follow shortly.
New Production with Tom Waits
Let us return to Paris. Bob will remain in Paris for a workshop of a (yes, all Tom Waits fans rejoice) new production with Tom Waits following in the footsteps of their collaborations on the Black Rider, Alice and Woyzeck. This time Bob and Tom team up with the ingeniously dark and sinister writer Martin McDonagh. The production will also premiere in 2011 in Paris at the Chatelet Theater.
The Makropoulos Case
At the end of April Bob will be traveling to Prague where he will do a workshop for his upcoming production of the Makropoulos Case. This production will not be Janacek’s opera, but Capek’s play with new music by contemporary composer Ales Brezina for the outstanding actress Sona Cervena who was a star in the ensemble of the San Francisco Opera House, sang at Bayreuth and then became an actress in the ensemble of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg where Bob and Tom Waits discovered her.
KOOL – Dancing in my mind
We are working on presenting the performance KOOL Dancing in My Mind, Bob’s stage tribute to the great choreographer and dancer Suzushi Hanayagi with the Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin in May. Arte is going to screen the film portrait of Suzushi Hanayagi by the same title on May 28th. Also in May, on the 22nd Bob is going to receive an honorary doctorate from the American University in Paris at the Arts Arena in Paris. Watermill resident artists’ Carlos Soto’s and Charles Chemin’s performance piece GIRLMACHINE that was premiered at Performa 09 will be showcased in Paris as part of these celebrations.
St. John’s Passion and back to Watermill
After the premiere in Prague of Katja Kabanova (reminder: June 26th and second stop of our donor trip benefiting the Watermill Center) there is just one more to go in Ljubljana with performances at the local festival of Bob’s staging of Bach’s St. John’s Passion. Then back to New York and Watermill for the selection committee meeting for the Watermill Fall and Spring residency program, the summer program, the benefit on the 24th of July, the concert on August 24th and then back out into the world of which I will tell you later.
No Wilson season without the ubiquitous VOOM Portraits, which are currently still on view at the Falckenberg Collection in Hamburg and will then travel to ZKM in Karlsruhe and will be shown at Galerie Thomas Schulte in Berlin as part of the Berlinale Film Festival opening on January 29th 2010.