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Opera | Dance | Music | Visual Art

Refuse the Hour

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US Premiere
Oct 22—Oct 25, 2015
Performance dates & times
RUN TIME: 1hr 20min
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October 2015
27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Thursday October 22, 2015
Performances no longer available.
Part of

William Kentridge
Philip Miller
Dada Masilo, Catherine Meyburgh, Peter Galison

“Can we hold our breath against time?” Speaking backwards and forwards, to the unsynced ticking of giant metronomes, inimitable South African artist William Kentridge (The Magic Flute, 2007 Winter/Spring; The Nose, Metropolitan Opera) delves into a phantasmagoric investigation of temporality in this multimedia chamber opera composed by Philip Miller, a companion to Kentridge’s five-channel video installation The Refusal of Time (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Documenta 13).

Amid spinning dancers, megaphoned singers, multi-instrumentalists, incessant animations, and a lone physicist, Kentridge himself delivers an elliptical lecture-performance on productive procrastination, myth, entropy, empire, and black holes. With choreography by Dada Masilo, video design by Catherine Meyburgh, and dramaturgy by Peter Galison, this delirious Dadaist cuckoo clock courses through time both operatic and cinematic, personal and collective, industrial and colonial, to tease meaning from the passing seconds.

Conception and libretto by William Kentridge
Music by Philip Miller
Choreography by Dada Masilo
Video design by Catherine Meyburgh and William Kentridge
Dramaturgy by Peter Galison
Scenic design by Sabine Theunissen
Movement by Luc de Wit
Costume design by Greta Goiris
Machine design by Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier, and Jonas Lundquist
Lighting design by Felice Ross
Sound design by Gavan Eckhart
Video orchestration by Kim Gunning
Music direction by Adam Howard

Music arranged and orchestrated by Philip Miller and Adam Howard

Executive Producer: Tomorrowland (Paris), Producer: THE OFFICE performing arts + film (New York). Co-commissioned by Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Festival d'Avignon, RomaEuropa Festival/Teatro di Roma (Roma), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens), with additional support provided by Marian Goodman Gallery (New York - Paris - London), Lia Rumma Gallery (Naples - Milano), and The Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg - Cape Town).

Leadership support for opera at BAM provided by:

Aashish & Dinyar Devitre


Major support for Refuse the Hour is provided by:

The Marian Goodman Gallery

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Related content
William Kentridge and Peter Galison
Sat, Oct 24, 2015
William Kentridge and Peter Galison
Sat, Oct 24, 2015

Artist William Kentridge and physicist Peter Galison discuss the process of demonstrating the conception of time through art in their multimedia chamber opera Refuse the Hour.

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