The haunting, evocative music storybook Angel Heart, released in September as a deluxe CD package, makes its New York premiere as a live multimedia family concert narrated by actor Chris Noth at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall this Monday, October 21. Hailed as “a fairy tale for the digital age” (Wall Street Journal), Angel Heart enjoyed a sold-out world premiere at UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances earlier this month. With a new story by best-selling children’s fantasy writer Cornelia Funke, interspersed with lullabies and songs arranged for voices, cellos and mandolin, Angel Heart builds on the tradition of musical stories like Peter and the Wolf. San Francisco Classical Voice called the premiere “magnetic” and “magical,” and the San Francisco Chronicle noted that composer Luna Pearl Woolf’s music was “inventive and arresting.” The project’s performers are cellist Matt Haimovitz, his all-cello ensemble Uccello, and vocalists Frederica von Stade, Lisa Delan,Daniel Taylor, and Bruce Rameker, with guest appearances at Zankel Hall by mandolin player Avi Avital and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The stage director is Brian Staufenbiel.
Robert P. Commanday opened his San Francisco Classical Voice review of the Berkeley premiere:
“After all the hundreds of musicals that have gone down the pike, take heart, there are still unlimited ways to tell a story in music. A very different way of telling, Angel Heart, charmed its first audience, of adults and children (lots of them) in UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall last Sunday afternoon. … The accompaniments were all imaginatively recreated, re-harmonized, the voicing and interplay of the cello ensemble’s parts achieving a constant play of effects, shimmering, haunting, often with gorgeous obbligato melodies. This cast much of the magic that was evoked in the telling of the story.”
Chris Noth, best known as Sex and the City’s “Mr. Big,” will appear as guest narrator at Zankel Hall on October 21 in New York. He has scored multiple Golden Globe nods for his key roles in Sex and the City and two other hit television series: Law & Order and The Good Wife. Noth’s most recent film is Lovelace, with Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard. His family-oriented work includes the lead role in the comedy short Tooth Fairy.
Angel Heart, a music storybook – the live performances, deluxe CD package, and forthcoming app – combine Funke’s text with Woolf’s original music, and arrangements of new and traditional songs by Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie, Engelbert Humperdinck, Lennon-McCartney, David Sanford, Lewis Spratlan, and Woolf. Its distinctive visual component is provided by creative studio Mirada, which specializes in integrating classic storytelling with new technologies. Founded by director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, of Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim fame, along with Grammy Award-winning director and producer Matthew Cullen and Javier Jimenez, Mirada recently won a Cannes Silver Lion Award for MirrorWorld, a previous Funke collaboration. The studio’s striking visuals will be projected live at Angel Heart’s New York premiere.
The project was born when composer Luna Pearl Woolf and soprano Lisa Delan discovered a shared “dream of lullabies.” Together, they compiled a selection of songs reflecting their musical loves – some by composers ranging from Engelbert Humperdinck to Lennon and McCartney, others traditional folk songs and lullabies. Arranged for the intimate and sumptuous sounds of an all-cello ensemble, these songs were interwoven with original music of a more virtuosic nature that Woolf – best known for Après Moi, le Déluge, her “unsentimental but moving tribute” (New York Times) to the victims of Hurricane Katrina – composed herself.
Tickets are available and can be purchased here.
AND GUESS WHAT? I’M GIVING AWAY A PAIR OF TICKETS TO THIS UNIQUE EVENT.
To win, just comment below and confirm that you can use the tickets this Monday night. Winner will be selected randomly. This giveaway will end on Monday, Monday, October 21st at 9am EST.
Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post. I am posting this because I need/want/must send someone to this cultural event.