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Written By: Robert Ashley
Directed By: William Gustafson
Mannes School of Music at The New School, presents Robert Ashley’s DUST in a new production by William Gustafson and Troy Hourie.

Hailed by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times as “the most tantalizing operatic offering by a New York conservatory this season”, this production of DUST will feature students from The New School’s College of Performing Arts under the musical direction of long-time Ashley collaborator, Joan La Barbara.

Composed in 1998, DUST combines live mixing and sound processing, improvisation, and pre-recorded music, all over a libretto based off of the free-associations, conversations, and waking dreams of five “street people.” The highly experimental vocal delivery combines a range of traditional and unconventional vocal techniques, from singing and speaking to mumbling and whispering.

"Imagine a street corner anywhere in the world, where those who live on the fringes of society gather to talk, to each other and to themselves, about life-changing events, missed opportunities, memory, loss and regret. Five 'street people' recount the memories and experiences of one of their group, a man who has lost his legs in some unnamed war. As part of the experience of losing his legs, he began a conversation with God, under the influence of the morphine he was given to ease his pain. Now he wishes that the conversation, which was interrupted when the morphine wore off, could be continued so that he could get the “secret word” that would stop all wars and suffering.” -Robert Ashley

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