‘Many Many Women’ Opens S.E.M. Ensemble’s 33rd Season

By Afton Wooten
Credit: New Opera Festival NODO

In part of its 33rd season and Interpretations Concert Series, the S.E.M Ensemble will present “Many Many Women.”

Together stage director and designer Jo Fabian and composer Petr Kotik combined Gertrude Stein texts to create “Many Many Women,” a six-hour long continuous opera.

The work was performed earlier this year at the New Opera Festival NODO in a concert setting. After this performance, Kotik was inspired to create a staged version.

The twelve musicians including sopranos Zen Wu and Ana Caseiro, countertenor Padraic Costello, tenor Nathan Fletcher bass-baritone James Gregory, bass Nicholas Hay and six instrumentalists will perform without stopping for a total of six hours. The work will conclude when “every word of Stein’s novella has been used.” “Many Many Women” contains 173 sections and 378 pages.

Kotik’s score follows traditional annotations but allows for performers to improvise on things like entrances, layering of sections, and musical flow. Kotik says the work represents a “variable situation” as there is no hard-and-fast plot or dramatic characters to follow.

“Many Many Women” will take place at Roulette Intermedium’s Willow Place Auditorium. on Sept 23rd. The performance begins at 5 p.m., but audience members are encouraged to come and go as they please.