REVEAL: Iphigenia by Wayne Shorter & esperanza spalding
a new opera debased on the myth by Euripides
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
Conductor - Clark Rundell
Set Designer - Frank Gehry
“Our Iphigenia has at its core a sense of autonomy – in this adventure of life, you have freedom of choice. All cards are on the table and Iphigenia gets to choose, free of everything. Through her example, we can learn how to take a creative approach to everything, using the power of spontaneous engagement. The overarching sentiment is one of humanistic love, of wanting to re-awaken the dreams of youth free of the pressures of adulthood.”— esperanza spalding
Take a deep dive into the creative process with REVEAL! This new series of digital residencies features exclusive footage, demonstrations, discussions, performances and more, and is designed to provide access to the creators’ ideas, transformational practices and journey to the stage.
Two of the most visionary and daring musical voices of our time, Wayne Shorter, “generally acknowledged to be jazz’s greatest living composer” (The New York Times), and esperanza spalding, “well over a decade into one of the most fruitful and strikingly original careers” (Rolling Stone), have collaborated to bring a modern operatic re-imagining of Iphigenia to the stage. A must for all fans of opera, classical and jazz!
Before the Los Angeles Premiere next year, REVEAL: Iphigenia gives you WS, a longer super nova, a short film directed by Arthur Jafa and a glimpse into the genius mind of Wayne Shorter being his inimitable stream of conscious self, along with a new, live virtual concert from esperanza spalding, powerhouse drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and multifaceted pianist Leo Genovese.
Iphigenia is part of our commitment to supporting the development and presentation of five new works over the next three seasons. To help us continue this work and more in the future, become a Member of The Broad Stage!
esperanza spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Leo Genovese concert
MON, JUN 21 at 7 PM (PT)
This special broadcast of the 2021 River To River Festival kickoff concert honors the great jazz legend Wayne Shorter. esperanza spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington and Leo Genovese will come together for an outdoor performance at The Clemente celebrating Shorter’s work and music.
WS, a longer super nova, a short film directed by Arthur Jafa
JUN 14 & 15 at 6 PM (PT)
In this insightful short film, director Arthur Jafa records an ongoing and intimately wild conversation between Wayne Shorter and esperanza spalding in the eclectic home of Shorter’s friend, architect and Iphigenia scenic designer Frank Gehry.
Produced by Nanette Nelms. Commissioned by LMCC for the River To River Festival 2021. Presented in partnership with The Broad Stage.
Iphigenia CO-COMMISSIONERS (as of March 2021)
Cal Performances at University of California, Berkeley
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC)
Carolina Performing Arts (Chapel Hill, NC)
MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA)
Arthur Jafa separates sound from image, only to collide them, forcing both eye and ear to find their balance in heart connection. He is an artist in search of a precise proximity between the seen and heard. In his “WS, a longer super nova”, Jafa gives us a glimpse into the genius mind of Jazz Master Wayne Shorter being his inimitable stream of conscious self. Jafa records an ongoing and intimately wild conversation between Mestre Shorter and brilliantly inspired Jazz force Esperanza Spalding. The conversation takes place in the eclectic home of Shorter’s friend, architect Frank Gehry. The Gehry Residence, a famously deconstructed habitable art space, makes room for Mr. Shorter’s stories to, like his music, zig zag their way to the point. “WS, a longer super nova”, a slice of life profile, a blues haiku, captures the dark matter entity that is Wayne Shorter.
esperanza spalding (also known as irma nejando, or, i.e.) is a being who has grown to recognize love in the abstract and aspirational, and is now fully dedicated to learning how she can serve and embody actualized love through honor for and receptivity to, fellow humans, teachers, and practitioners of various regenerative arts. Bass, piano, composition, performance, voice and lyrics are tools and disciplines she is engaged in deeply to cultivate her own channel for transmitting care and beauty through vibration/sound/presence. She has written an Opera with Wayne Shorter slated for premier in Fall 2021. She is currently developing a mockumentary in collaboration with brontë velez and San Francisco Symphony, researching and developing liberation rituals in jazz and black dance and continuing a lifelong collaboration with practitioners in various fields relating to music, healing and cognition to develop music with enhanced therapeutic potential. She is presently paid by Harvard University to co-create and learn with students, working on developing creative practices that serve the restoration of people and land.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Wayne Shorter grew up poring through comic books and imagining adventures in undiscovered universes. He started his musical career on clarinet, but switched to tenor sax, which he studied at New York University. Upon graduating, he was drafted into the Army. In 1959, Shorter joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as a saxophonist, eventually composing for the group and becoming its music director. During the Blakey period, Shorter also made his debut on records as a leader, cutting several albums for Chicago’s Vee-Jay label. After a few prior attempts to hire him away from Blakey, Miles Davis finally convinced Shorter to join his second historic quintet in September 1964, alongside Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. Staying with Miles until 1970, Shorter became the band’s most prolific composer at times, contributing tunes like “E.S.P.,” “Pinocchio,” “Nefertiti,” “Sanctuary,” “Footprints,” “Fall,” and the signature description of Miles, “Prince of Darkness.” While playing through Miles’s transition from loose post-bop acoustic jazz into electronic jazz-rock, Shorter also took up the soprano sax in late 1968, an instrument that turned out to be more suited to riding above the new electronic timbres than the tenor. As a prolific solo artist for Blue Note during this period, Shorter expanded his palette from hard bop almost into the atonal avant-garde, with fascinating excursions into jazz-rock territory toward the turn of the decade. This marked the beginning of Shorter’s exploration of unchartered territories that led him to form—with pianist Joe Zawinul—the world’s first fusion band, Weather Report, in 1970. Shorter’s playing grew mellower, pithier, more consciously melodic. By now he was playing mostly on soprano, though the tenor would re-emerge more toward the end of Weather Report’s run. Shorter’s solo ambitions were mostly on hold during the Weather Report’s days, resulting in but one atypical solo album, Native Dancer, a side trip into Brazilian-American tropicalismo in tandem with Milton Nascimento. Shorter also revisited the past in the late 1970s by touring with Freddie Hubbard and ex-Miles sidemen Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams as V.S.O.P. Shorter left Weather Report in 1985. Over the next decade, Shorter produced a succession of jazz albums for the Columbia label. During this period, he became known for collaborations with greats across genres, including Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Carlos Santana, and Don Henley. After three Columbia albums during 1986–1988, and a tour with Santana, he lapsed into silence, finally emerging in 1992 with Wallace Roney and the V.S.O.P. rhythm section in the A Tribute to Miles band. In 1995, Shorter released High Life on the Verve label, and in 1997 it received the Grammy® for best contemporary jazz album. Two years later, he reunited with longtime friend Herbie Hancock for an intimate duet recording entitled 1+1, winning another Grammy® for their collaboration. He guested on the Rolling Stones’s Bridges to Babylon in 1997, and on Herbie Hancock’s Gershwin's World in 1998. In 2001, he was back with Hancock for Future 2 Future and on Marcus Miller's M². In 2000, he formed his first acoustic group under his name, The Wayne Shorter Quartet, featuring Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, and Brian Blade, which still remains. At the same time, Shorter began exploring the world of classical music. He paired with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, and the BBC Chamber Orchestra, unveiling his new symphonic repertoire. He is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award (1998), the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), and most recently, the prestigious Polar Music Prize (2017). He has won a total of 11 Grammy Awards under his belt. He is currently in collaboration with Esperanza Spalding, composing his first opera, Iphigenia, his ultimate expression honoring the nobility of humanity: to awake one’s inherent power.