Divide Light Press Release


February 28, 2018: New Camerata Opera to mount New York premiere of Lesley Dill & Richard Marriott’s DIVIDE LIGHT

(New York, NY, February 28th, 2018) New Camerata Opera is mounting the New York premiere of DIVIDE LIGHT, an experimental opera based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, created and conceived by Lesley Dill and composed by Richard Marriott. Performances will be at Manhattan’s Dixon Place on April 26th, 28th, and 29th, featuring members of New Camerata Opera with string quintet. Additionally, on April 27th, NCO will present a concert entitled “The Sacred Feminine: A Celebration of Emily Dickinson and the Power of Women,” showcasing various composers whose works feature Emily Dickinson texts. DIVIDE LIGHT will be led by an all-female crew including stage director Sarah Fraser, stage manager Miriam Rochford, and costume fabricator Sarah Dixey, with conductor Whitney George of the Curiosity Cabinet at the helm.

DIVIDE LIGHT creator Lesley Dill is one of the most prominent American artists working at the intersection of language, performance, and fine art. The work was first produced in 2008 at The Montalvo Arts Center in California. Dill says of the new production: “A high mark of my lifelong inspiration from Emily Dickinson’s poetry is DIVIDE LIGHT. I conceived the opera in 2005, and directed it in 2008. It was long in the making and I am delighted to have it performed here in NYC by New Camerata Opera.”

With lavish costumes and striking projections, Dill says that DIVIDE LIGHT “is a story of the journey of the heart and soul. The story of the music, costumes, and video projections follow an arc of emotional metaphor: from Vulnerability, to Anguish, to Thoughtfulness, to Loneliness and Death, to Exultation, Exhilaration, Ecstasy and Immensity.”

Language, or as Dickinson said “this Loved Philology”, is the core of our music, projections, and costumes in DIVIDE LIGHT. While much is made of Dickinson herself - her quiet life, her white dress - this brevity does not extend to her world of words. Her linguistic world is huge and wide-ranging; it is hungry and honest. From “some too fragile for winter winds” to “to be alive is Power”; from “I like a look of agony because I know it’s true” to “I think to live may be a bliss.”

Passionate, abrupt, irrational - the language skews one into the mysterious. “This language, with its modest austerity that surges into intensity,” says Dill, “in my mind could only be an opera.”

Divide Light Poster 11x17 - Candlehands-01.jpg

Composer Richard Marriott, founder of the acclaimed Club Foot Orchestra, paired with Dill to bring DIVIDE LIGHT to life musically, in operatic fashion. “DIVIDE LIGHT,” says Marriott, “illuminates the most archetypal of stories: the journey from the sunny rationality of Day into an exploration of Night and the deepest recesses of the soul, finally emerging into the bright golden Dawn of transcendence and affirmation.”

In addition to DIVIDE LIGHT, New Camerata Opera will present a unique event entitled “The Sacred Feminine: A Celebration of Emily Dickinson and the Power of Women”, for one evening on April 27th. This program will feature an all-female cast of New York City based artists, performing works set to Dickinson’s texts by composers including Heggie, Harbach, Copland, Walker, Barber, Hall, Carter, and more. Accompanied by pianist Nora Bartosik.

New Camerata Opera is a New York City based, cooperative company in its second season. Their mission is to “engage, excite, and educate through immersive performances that break down barriers and inspire fans of the future.” In addition to mainstage productions, New Camerata Opera offers children’s operas through Camerata Piccola, and produces short operatic films with CamerataWorks. For more details and interview opportunities about the upcoming production of DIVIDE LIGHT, as well as “The Sacred Feminine: A Celebration of Emily Dickinson and the Power of Women” concert, and New Camerata Opera, please contact info@newcamerataopera.org.