MapFund

About the Grant

$20,000 to support The Sisyphus Opera (MAP 2007) the collaborative production of an original musical drama by poet and playwright Amiri Baraka with tenor saxophonist and composer David Murray.  The Sisyphus Opera is a new multidisciplinary operatic suite, inspired by themes of race, class, security and planetary survival which attempts to contemporize W.E.B. DuBois' "Sisyphus Syndrome" - "humanity's eternal struggle to roll the rock to higher ground."

About the Project

The Sisyphus Syndrome is collaborative production of an original musical drama by poet and playwright Amiri Baraka with tenor saxophonist and composer David Murray. This timely pairing of Baraka’s insightful verse with Murray’s masterful orchestral arrangements will create a groundbreaking multidisciplinary operatic suite with incisive interpretations on the turbulent overlapping themes of race, class, security and planetary survival, while offering hope in the face of seemingly endless global conflict.

Baraka and Murray will explore the Greek allegory of Sisyphus, the greedy king doomed forever in Hades to roll uphill a heavy stone which always rolled down again, symbolizing American society’s constant battle to maintain and expand democratic space.  Working with a selection of 8-10 of Baraka’s poems, Murray will compose music that compliments and gives voice to the work. 

Starting early in 2008 the work will be further developed through a series of workshops, open rehearsals and community discussions held at the newly opened EastSide Cultural Center.  The premiere of The Sisyphus Syndrome will be the main presentation of EastSide Arts Alliance’s 8th Annual Malcolm X JazzArts Festival held during the weekend of May 16-19, 2008.

Related Websites

EastSide Arts Alliance



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