ABIGAIL FISCHER, TED HEARNE, RENA MARIE, ISAIAH ROBINSON and ANTHONY TURNER
Katrina Ballads is a powerful multi-media work conceived by composer Ted Hearne, with devastating and haunting film by internationally renowned filmmaker Bill Morrison. Katrina Ballads draws on blues, gospel, grunge, electronic processing, and chance music to portray the devastation of New Orleans’ losses and the uncomfortable social truths that were uncovered during the Katrina catastrophe in 2005. Through this event and the media coverage of it, we delve into a larger critical issue facing our country: the media’s hold on the collective American intelligence. By shaping and influencing our reality through its limited, biased, and telescoped “truth” of events such as Katrina, our “reality” is created by the omni-present media.
The text for Katrina Ballads is drawn entirely from primary-source material from the week following Hurricane Katrina, including the words of survivors and relief workers as well as politicians and celebrities, all experienced through national media outlets and immediately archived forever on the internet. By using primary sources for the libretto, the texts not only communicate the deeply personal imprint Katrina left on those of us who weren’t there, but also keep fresh the actual words that were spoken during that time and the visceral messages those words conveyed.
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects. World premiere at Le Poisson Rouge (NYC) in 2010 and at Foundation for Modern Music/Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (Houston) in 2010.
“A tough edge and a wildness of spirit that suits the music and the subject…”
“[Katrina Ballads] marks the emergence of a highly gifted composer”
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