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“Powers of Two: The Artist”

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Truax, Barry (Canadian composer, librettist, 1947-____), “Powers of Two: The Artist,”

a __-minute act from a four-act opera in English, set no specific place, the present,


  •  © 1995 by Barry Truax;  •  score-libretto/rights available from Barry Truax, 4346 Cambridge Street, Burnaby, British Columbia V5C 1H4, Canada, truax@sfu.ca;  •  recording commercially available from CMCDS (Canadian Music Centre Distribution Service, a specialist in recordings of the music of Canadian composers on CD), address Canadian Music Centre Distribution Service, 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1J9, Canada, telephone (416) 961-6601, http://www.interlog.com/~cmc/ds/ds.html.  •  Cited by Barry Truax, via e-mail February 29, 2000; Truax says,

  §  Dramatis Personae The Seer (m countertenor), an androgynous figure who cannot walk or speak; The Artist (m lyric tenor), a gay seeker of love and spiritual fulfillment; Dancer (f) a seeker of union; video tape and 8-channels.

  § Synopsis “The Artist, a gay male, in his pursuit not only for love but also for spiritual fulfillment, seeks guidance from the Seer, who dispenses wisdom through images and song, and eventually finds insight through blindness. The Dancer seeks only a union with her virtual ‘other,’ the dancer on screen.

  § Comment “‘Powers of Two: The Artist’ explores the symbolism and dynamic tension between various pairs of opposites: the visual and auditory, the real and virtual, male and female, gendered and inverted. Although unrealistic, the characters enact various human emotions in their search for unity.  •  A description of the source four-act opera is at http://www.sfu.ca/~truax/powers.html. ‘Powers of Two: The Artist’ derives from  Powers of Two, a 4-act piece for six singers, plus two dancers, video tape and 8-channel tape. A CD recording of ‘Powers of Two: The Artist,’ Inside CSR-CD 9601 (www.sfu.ca/~truax/powers.html) is available from composer’s own label, Cambridge Street Records, 4346 Cambridge Street, Burnaby, British Columbia V5C 1H4, Canada, or through http://www.sfu.ca/~truax/csr.html.  •  The ‘sequel’ to this act, ‘The Sibyl,’ has two female singers, male dancer, etc.  •  www.sfu.ca/~truax/globe.html.  •  A Globe and Mail article critiquing the opera is available at http://www.sfu.ca/~truax/globe.html.   •  “Barry Truax is a Professor in both the School of Communication and the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University where he teaches courses in acoustic communication and electroacoustic music. He has worked with the World Soundscape Project, editing its Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, and has published a book Acoustic Communication dealing with all aspects of sound and technology. As a composer, Truax is best known for his work with the PODX computer music system which he has used for tape solo works and those which combine tape with live performers or computer graphics. A selection of these pieces may be heard on the recording Sequence of Earlier Heaven, and the Compact Discs Digital Soundscapes, Pacific Rim, Song of Songs, and Inside, all on the Cambridge Street Records label. In 1991 his work, Riverrun, was awarded the Magisterium at the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France, a category open only to electroacoustic composers of 20 or more years experience.”—Bios, http://www.sfu.ca/~truax/, accessed February 26, 2000.  •  See online interview by Toru Iwatake, August 7, 1991, at the Department of Communication, Simon Fraser University.—Barry, http://www.sfu.ca/~truax/barry.html.  •  “The Canadian Music Centre is Canada’s national collection of music by our major concert composers. The Centre’s activities conducted through the national office in Toronto and its regional offices in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, are organized to support the creative work of the more than 400 composers who are called Associates of the CMC. At the heart of the Centre is a free circulating library of some 14,000 scores, both published and unpublished, and a reference collection of recordings and documentation about Canadian composers and their works. Library services are provided gratis to the public.”—BC Opera Catalogue Intro, http://www.ffa.ucalgary.ca/cmc/BC/Opera-Intro.html, accessed February 26, 2000.”

  § Themes auditory, blindness, dance, dispensing, gay, gender, guidance, guru, homosexuality, image, insight, inversion, love, male-female, opposite, realism, emotion, reality, screen, search, song, spiritual fulfillment, symbolism, tension, union, unity, virtual,, visual, wisdom.

See also Barry Truax’s


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