New twist on Shakespeare’s King Lear takes opera form in UCSD premiere

From UCSD Reports
“Lear on the Second Floor,” a chamber opera by Anthony Davis (with libretto by Allan Havis) will premiere 7 p.m. March 6, 8, 9 at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Music Center.

Composer Anthony Davis

Inspired by Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” Davis’s opera tells the story of Nora Lear, a neuroscientist plagued by early-onset Alzheimer’s. As she loses her bearings and autonomy, she is increasingly at the mercy of her three quarreling daughters.

Nora’s late husband, Mortimer, is Shakespeare’s fool in this version, and is her constant companion as she moves through a world where the past and present blend and reality bends.

The production combines live performance with video, computer processed sound, lighting, and scenic design to express Nora’s increasing disorientation. Davis’s arrangement and instrumentation reflect diverse influences ranging from classical opera to jazz to reggae.

A UCSD music faculty member, Davis is an internationally acclaimed composer and pianist, whose previous operas include “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” “Wakonda’s Dream,” “Amistad,” and “Tanya.”
Havis, provost of UCSD’s Marshall College, playwright, and theater faculty member, also collaborated with Davis on the 2009 chamber opera “Lilith.”

With musical direction by Steven Schick, and stage direction by Mark DeChiazza, the cast features soprano Susan Narucki as Nora Lear, bass-baritone Philip Larson as Mortimer, Jorell Williams as the Nurse and the Lawyer, Ruff Yeager as the Doctor, UCSD graduate students Bonnie Lander, Alice Teyssier, Tiffany Du Mouchelle and Sara Perez are the musicians of palimpsest.

“Lear on the Second Floor,” is presented by kallisti, the contemporary vocal ensemble of the UC Department of Music.

Tickets, $15.50, and $10.50 for UCSD faculty, staff, students, retirement association members, are available at the door, online at and through the box office at (858) 534-3448

Related posts:

  1. Tan Dun’s ‘Water Passion’ wows SummerFest audience
  2. Pianist will open Athenaeum’s latest chamber music series on Oct. 1
  3. Bach Collegium will musically transport audiences back to 1724 for ‘St. John Passion’
  4. Free concert at Greene Music store on Nov. 7
  5. La Jolla Symphony & Chorus boasts ‘colorful’ concert

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Mar 5, 2013. Filed under A & E, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Summer 2014 Carmel Valley Open Basketball League Champs: ‘Carmel Valley Spurs’ August 30, 2014
    On Aug. 18, the Carmel Valley Spurs defeated the Solana Beach Stray Cats, 67-41, in the 5th/6th grade championship game in the Master Sports Carmel Valley OPEN Basketball League. Over a 10-game season, the offense scored 659 points while giving up only 364 on defense. The average game score was 66-36. They had the best rebounders, best shooters, and best def […]
  • Hundreds turn out for Carmel Valley planning board meeting on One Paseo August 30, 2014
    Hearts and visions collided at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting, where an overflow crowd turned out to debate the future of the last major slice of the community left to be developed. All 400 seats in Canyon Crest Academy’s theater were filled, and people spilled out into the aisles and crammed into standing-room only spots in the b […]
  • Del Mar Library book-to-movie club picks fall reads August 30, 2014
    Print Goes to the Movies, a book/movie discussion group held at the Del Mar Branch Library at 2 p.m. every second Friday, has announced its upcoming dates and movies. […]