“A feverish mashup of artistic and political history, commentary on vinegar and meatballs, and non sequiturs, all set to Wold’s tangy, versatile score.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
UKSUS, the newest chamber opera by Erling Wold, is a mixture of stories and poems from the OBERIU (The Association for Real Art), a group of Russian writers and artists in Leningrad in the 1930s, of which the best known is the eccentric Daniil Kharms.
The cast features Timur, the “extravagantly transgressive tenor” (Los Angeles Times) in the role of Kharms, along with the “vocally resplendent” (Opera News) Laura Bohn, mezzo Nikola Printz, and actor Bob Ernst. An ensemble of crossover musicians from the new-music / jazz / classical scenes is conducted by Bryan Nies.
What is amazing about the OBERIU is that, while living in abject fear and panic under Stalin, they laughed and laughed and laughed, loved wordplay and nonsense, rejoiced in absurdity, and held onto that love and joy and laughter to very end, to their ambiguous deaths in custody of The State, the secret police, the NKVD.
The album is released by MinMax Music and distributed by Starkland. UKSUS follows Wold’s previous, critically acclaimed operas Certitude and Joy, about a woman who kills her three children on orders from God; A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, the dream-story of a convent-bound girl by Max Ernst; and Mordake, chronicling the descent of Edward Mordake, born with his sister’s face on the back of his head.
Wold is “a true California eccentric and polymath” (Bachtrack) and has been labeled “the Eric Satie of Berkeley surrealist/ electro-art rock” (Village Voice). His teachers include Gerard Grisey, Andrew Imbrie and John Chowning. He has collaborated with electronic and noise musicians, filmmakers (Jon Jost) and dance companies, including interactive audio and video projects with Palindrome Dance, Nürnberg.
2 God what a terrible way to live
3 There once was a man named Semyonov
4 Fedja Davidovich
5 To the barricades we will run
6 One day Orlov ate too many mashed peas and died
7 You must drink some vinegar!
8 Boeuf Bub I
9 You are sewing, what silliness is that
10 A little old woman had only four teeth
11 Elizaveta Bam!
12 Dearest Marina
13 The tobacco was all gone
14 When Pushkin broke his legs
15 НОТЫ ВИЖУ ВИЖУ МРАК
16 I see the world's distorted appearance
17 Falling Old Women
18 I am interested only in nonsense
19 What people do with themselves when they are alone
20 You have torn apart the stream of memory
21 I greet you, desk!
22 Stool side table garbage pail
23 НОТЫ ВИЖУ ВИЖУ МРАК
24 Boeuf Bub II
25 The Divan Song
26 There once lived an old woman
27 Time machine, go to hell!
28 In my opinion, words that start with a "P" mean "sphere"
29 A hammer
30 Where is the office clock
31 The karabister!
32 You are a god of nine legs
33 Vivacissimo Prestissimo Con Brio
34 Boeuf Bub III
35 I pulled a sphere out of my head
36 Germans plunder Russian land
37 Requiem mass for the painter Michelangelo
38 Does writing benefit the people
39 Can you explain that more closely
40 Fefjulka goes to Venezuela
41 My God! What is this