London IMAX to stage rarely performed Steve Reich opera

A seldom-performed video opera Three Tales is to get a rare outing at the Science Museum (London) IMAX Theatre (22 – 24 April) as part of the Being Modern: Science and Culture in the Early Twentieth Century conference taking place in the UK this spring.

The conference, hosted by the Institute of Historical Research, examines parallels between the massive technology changes at the start of the 20th century – like the invention of the aeroplane – and the present, where the digital age brings new discoveries on an almost daily basis. Dr Robert Bud, an expert on medical history and a curator at the Science Museum, is leading the debate.

Created by Grammy Award-winning composer Steve Reich and experimental video artist Beryl Korot in 2002, Three Tales examines major scientific events of the 20th century using a mixture of live music, interviews and film, creating an incredible immersive experience. Nick Sutcliffe, artistic director of ensemble BPM, performing the piece, said: ‘Reich and Korot pooled together their musical and visual compositional resources to create something totally homogenous that is at once ultra-modern and also ancient.’

Commenting on why Three Tales remains relevant, Ensemble BPM producer Amanda Carrick said: ‘It examines both the growth and implications of technology on the future of mankind through scientific, religious and ethical debates, with contributions from prescient cultural thinkers.’

Ensemble BPM, who also presented the work in 2010, is only the second group to stage the work since its 2002 premiere. The project is supported by Arts Council England, AHRC and The Hinrichsen Foundation.

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