Kennedy Center to Present Premiere of ‘…(Iphigenia)’

By Francisco Salazar

The Kennedy Center of Washington D.C. will present the co-commissioned opera, “…(Iphigenia),” the collaborative work of Wayne Shorter, and Esperanza Spalding.

Performances will take place on Dec. 10 and 11 at the Eisenhower Theater, and will feature a production by Obie Award winner Lileana Blain-Cruz. Clark Rundell will conduct the production with scenic design by Frank Gehry, costume design by Montana Levi-Blanco, lighting design by Jen Schriever, and sound design by Mark Grey. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw contributed a cappella vocal arrangements, and additional text is provided by US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, Safiya Sinclair, and Ganavya Doraiswamy. “…(Iphigenia)” will be produced by Jeff Tang (Executive Creative Producer), Cath Brittan (Producer), and Mara Isaacs (Octopus Theatricals, Tour Producer).

In a statement, Jason Moran, Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz said, “Wayne Shorter is a composer and improviser that always fuses ideas anew. When he teamed up with the astoundingly adventurous Esperanza Spalding, their collaboration would mark a new opera, ‘…(Iphigenia).’ We at the Kennedy Center are honored to co-commission this piece. I was thrilled to sit in on a workshop at the REACH and I’ve continued following the progress of the work. It fills me with great joy and anticipation for our opening night, continuing to mark that the work of great artists always needs support and TIME.”

The work will debut as a traveling operatic performance with other stops in Berkeley (Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley, February 12) and Los Angeles (The Broad Stage, February 18, 19, 20).

Spalding will lead a cast of 15 and a chamber orchestra local to each venue. They will be accompanied by stars of the jazz world including Brian Blade, and John Patitucci, and Danilo Pérez from the Wayne Shorter Quartet.