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Robert Ashley's Quicksand debuts in New York

This January, the late Robert Ashley's novel-cum-opera makes its world premiere in New York

New York City’s The Kitchen is set to stage the world premiere of Robert Ashley's Quicksand in January. Ashley finished the opera, based on his own novel of the same name, shortly before his death in 2014, aged 83. The narrative is entirely sung by Ashley to an electronic orchestra provided by Tom Hamilton. In addition the opera features the live performing presences of its choreographer Steve Paxton, Maura Gahan and Jurij Konjar. Lighting is by David Moodey. .

“I thought that I would try to make an opera libretto from a mystery story, told verbatim,” explained Ashley. The novel upon which it is based was published by Burning Books in 2011. The following year he asked Paxton to set the novel to movement. “Everything in the novel is true, except for a lot of the facts,” quipped Ashley on his publisher's website. Divided into three acts, each containing 16 scenes, the opera-novel tells the story of a composer coerced by a US agency called The Company into working as a spy.

Quicksand will receive its world premiere performance at The Kitchen, New York City, USA, on 28 January 2016. It then runs until 6 February. There are also plans to stage the opera in Europe, details TBC.