Robin Rhode: Erwartung
Robin Rhode performs Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg’s atonal opera Erwartung (Expectation), transforming it to reflect the experiences of women who have been separated interminably from their husbands by the migrant labor system, political exile, activism and/or imprisonment.
Composed in 1909, Erwartung by Arnold Schönberg tells a melancholy story of love, loss, and longing that takes the form of a one-act monodrama. Rhode’s performance, Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung – A Performance by Robin Rhode, grounds these complex, universal emotions to the particular social and cultural trauma of South African racial politics and migrant labor. Set in New York City’s Times Square, the intimate one-person show is scaled to dramatic proportions within this most public of settings, giving a candid and global voice to this cause; a woman’s anguish explodes on the streets of New York as an operatic monument to lamentation. Conducted by Maestro Arturo Tamayo, performed by the renowned French soprano Carole Sidney Louis and German-South African actor Moses Leo, and described by Schönberg himself as a 30-second anxiety attack extended musically into a 30-minute opera, Erwartung invites us inside an encounter of pain and perseverance. Staged on a set based on the original designs sketched by Schönberg in 1909, Rhode’s mise-en-scène draws threads between the past and present versions of this performance.
Times Square, November 7th & 8th, 2015