I was at the premiere of Meredith Monk’s ATLAS at Walt Disney Concert Hall here in Los Angeles, Tuesday June 11, 2019. Having never seen the original performance back in the 90’s I was excited to be able to have the opportunity to experience this astonishing and vocally hypnotic production. The centerpiece was at 36’ diameter globe utilizing light projections and other computer generated effects to represent (for me) space / time travel and a vehicle to narrate the human quest of exploration, observation and spiritual awakening. Seen through the eyes of the protagonist “Alexandra,” we participate in her journey in three parts (childhood, youth and maturity) and over twenty scenes. Alexandra travels with her companions and other characters / participants into the voyage of a creative life expressed through a vocally complex and wordless communication system. The LA Phil New Group orchestration was wonderfully integrated with the quirky operatic singing to compliment the entire performance; mesmerizing instrumentation kept the direction of movement and choreography fresh and vital rather than compulsory and repetitive. Overall a masterpiece of visual virtuosity, a memorable and transcendent musical score combined with a hauntingly transcriptive vocal accomplishment by all the performers. Bravo!!
You can hear snippets of music from each scene if you follow this link and scroll down the NYT review and click on the index, ATLAS-An Opera In Three Parts