Libretto by François Régnault and Georges Aperghis (based on texts by Charles Darwin and Stephen Jay Gould) and music by George Aperghis

For five singers and speaking cellist

Sextuor is composed like an oratorio, telling the story of life interpreted in fossil records, co-written by François Règnault and the composer, inspired by Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and Stephen Jay Gould’s Wonderful Life.

“In the beginning… there was not a beginning. The common ancestor is unknown. Between each species and the common ancestor, who is unknown, one must seek, forever seek the intermediate forms” Narrated by the cellist, and also by the singers through straight singing, Sprechstimme, nonsensical syllables evoking the sounds of beginning life forms and fast-forward sound portraiture of evolution, and as instruments, the story unfolds through bouts of rhythmic complexity and quartertones, and each of the performer’s symbolic characters is revealed.

“Immense Nature improbable and unpredictable, contingent nature, where are we going, we who say life was wonderful, we who say life is wonderful?”

Sample audio from Sextuor: l’origine des especes:

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PERSONNEL

Sop I, Megan Schubert
Sop II, Christie Finn
Sop III, Gelsey Bell
Mezzo, Silvie Jensen
Contralto, Amirtha Kidambi
Cello, Émilie Girard-Charest
Director, Jeremy Bloom
Lighting Designer, Kryssy Wright
Rehearsal Conductor, Nick DeMaison

Watch Soprano Megan Schubert introduce Sextuor: l’origine des especes in this video from the inaugural Experiments In Opera Festival at (le) Poisson Rouge on January 16, 2012: