STEVEN MACKEY: Ravenshead
"Best Opera of '98... Eckert [delivered] a tour de force to Mackey's insinuating
"An unforgettable opera that combines music and drama with stunning emotional
effect... Eckert is a marvel, singing Mackey's challenging, beautiful
score with consummate commitment."
Today declared Ravenshead the "Best New Opera of the Year" when
it debuted in 1998. The work is a tour de force that combines Steve Mackey's
multi-faceted score, the dazzling physicality and mordant wit of Rinde
Eckert, and a superb performance by the Paul Dresher Ensemble to pull
off what the New York Press called "equal parts MTV video and
The work is based
on the real life story of Donald Crowhurst, a British entrepreneur who attempted
to be the first person to sail solo around the world. A meditation on the meaning of heroism vs. hubris, of competence
vs. charisma, Ravenshead had the "New York audience hanging on the edge of their seats" (American Theatre). And the Los
Angeles Times wrote that the opera is "astonishing," that Eckert's "brilliant" performance "entertains
us, amazes us and shatters us," and that Steve Mackey's music has "the
energy of rock."
Mackey, whose idiom draws on western art music as well as popular music, has been commissioned by such sources as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Dawn Upshaw. Champions of his music include Michael Tilson Thomas and the Kronos Quartet.