Robert Ashley's "Vidas Perfectas"

Ongoing Series

Dec 15 – Dec 17, 2011



ROBERT ASHLEY’S VIDAS PERFECTAS

A NEW SPANISH-LANGUAGE VERSION OF THE TELEVISION OPERA PERFECT LIVES (1983)

STARRING NED SUBLETTE AS “R,” OR “RAOUL DE NOGET”
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY ALEX WATERMAN MUSIC PRODUCED BY PETER GORDON

CO-STARRING ELIO VILLAFRANCA AS “BUDDY, THE WORLD’S GREATEST PIANO PLAYER”
INTRODUCING ELISA SANTIAGO AND ABRAHAM GOMEZ-DELGADO

SETS BY SARAH CROWNER • SUBTITLES BY ANNA CRAYCROFT AND EVE ESSEX
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: ZACH LAYTON • ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: EVE ESSEX


Robert Ashley’s Vidas Perfectas, a new Spanish-language production of the ground-breaking television opera Perfect Lives (1983), will premiere at Irondale Theater in Brooklyn, directed by Alex Waterman. With the blessing of Ashley, Waterman is directing an entirely new version of Perfect Lives for the 21st century, from a Spanish translation by Javier Sainz de Robles. The cast and crew includes downtown musician and author Ned Sublette, Elio Villafranca as “Buddy, the World’s Greatest Piano Player,” Peter Gordon as the producer and sound designer, and Sarah Crowner, set designer. Vidas Perfectas will represent all seven of the opera’s episodes as a full stage and television production.

Alex Waterman says, “Robert Ashley changed the game completely. There is no other composer living today that has been able to create an entirely new kind of opera. Others have innovated, played with, polished up, improved upon or just added to the form as it has existed for the last few hundred years. Ashley brings us a totally new form of opera that makes sung speech sound like talk, synthetic orchestration sound like unconscious thought, and the performance feel like a dream that we can’t wake from. Ashley didn’t just reinvent opera. He has re-imagined the American musical landscape.”

Perfect Lives, the world's first 'television opera,' almost single-handedly changed the way we think about opera, television and performance. Commissioned by The Kitchen in 1979 and co-produced by Channel Four in Great Britain, parts of the seven-episode series have been seen on American, Japanese, German, Austrian, Spanish and Australian television. It was also celebrated in Peter Greenaway's 1985 Four American Composers series.

In 2010, Issue Project Room was awarded an NEA grant for Alex Waterman to produce a new version of Perfect Lives or Vidas Perfectas. Instead of simply reviving Ashley’s masterpiece, Director Alex Waterman is presenting an entirely new version for the 21st century from a Spanish-language translation by Javier Sainz de Robles, re-imagined on the Mexican/American border.Vidas Perfectas will present each of Perfect Lives' seven, 30-minute episodes in a stage and television production with all new cast, arrangements, and staging.

The first three episodes of Vidas Perfectas will premiere December 15-17, 2011 at at the Irondale Theater in Brooklyn.