Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun. An Opera for All Ages. For Small Ensemble and Special Guest Artist. Libretto by Leslie Dunton-Downer. Autograph map of form with sketches. Augusta Read b. 1964 THOMAS.
Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun. An Opera for All Ages. For Small Ensemble and Special Guest Artist. Libretto by Leslie Dunton-Downer. Autograph map of form with sketches
Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun. An Opera for All Ages. For Small Ensemble and Special Guest Artist. Libretto by Leslie Dunton-Downer. Autograph map of form with sketches

Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun. An Opera for All Ages. For Small Ensemble and Special Guest Artist. Libretto by Leslie Dunton-Downer. Autograph map of form with sketches

Large oblong folio (483 x 1499 mm; 19" x 59"); two sheets taped together to make one large leaf. Executed in brightly colored inks on beige paper. Incorporating several images of buildings, etc., laid down.

Map of form depicts the progression of the opera along a timeline stretched horizontally across the lower half of the page, numbered from 0 to 72', the opera concluding around 58.' Immediately below timeline, text regarding "Famous B.B. [beatboxing] Solo Show" and duration related to scenic development. Along the timeline, named sectional "arcs" define scenic changes, e.g., "Arc 1 Rooftop Garden," "Arc 5 Cellar," etc. Mostly above scenic arcs and comprising the balance of the page is a pictorial/graphic representation of the story progression including colorful drawings of scene settings along a linear path representing the main character's journey and written descriptions of musical character and tone. Along the upper margin a horizontal line in pink titled "The illusion line" with sharp peaks and dips, dots, squiggles, and arrows extending both above and below the line corresponding to specific moments in the work. At the right edge of the timeline, following the opera's conclusion, a green sticky note laid down with "Still have some wiggle-room vis time."

Together with scenic arcs map and sketch map of form. Oblong folios (ca. 280 x 430 mm). Both executed in black and bright multi-coloured inks.

Scenic arcs map illustrates the relationships among parallel scenes through colour-coded arcs that connect related portions of the work, the ends of each arc marked with the scene's name or setting and number designation. An unmarked timeline across the lower portion of the page shows the progression of time.

Sketch of map of form showing parallel scenes built around a linear depiction of the work through time in black ink, beginning and ending with prologue and epilogue represented as circles highlighted in yellow, connected by the jagged, sharp line of the scenic progression. The scenic line is labeled in blue ink with progressive arcs: "Arc 1 (Rooftop garden)," "Arc 2 (city spaces)," etc., corresponding to the arcs laid out in the scenic arcs map. Each arc with accompanying explanatory text in purple ink describing the character of the music with brief explanations of plot signed "ART 2017." Additional colours appear on the scenic map to denote particular performing forces or ensembles, for instance green for "bees flowers" and orange for "children's chorus.".Along the lower portion of the page, arcs are labled in red ink with duration in minutes. Note in the upper left corner in red ink "Note: This Map is not in great Proportion vis time (Arc 1 + 6 look too brief here)." Signed at foot of page "Augusta Read Thomas."

Map of form with fold in center and creased to bottom right corner. Generally in excellent condition.

Commissioned by a consortium of opera companies led by the Santa Fe Opera in association with the San Francisco Opera and including the Opera of Kansas City, the Minnesota Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Sarasota Opera, and the Seattle Opera. Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun was premiered on 26 October 2019 by the Santa Fe Opera at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Carmen Flórez-Mansi conducting.

"Although highly notated, precise, carefully structured, soundly proportioned, and while musicians are elegantly working from a nuanced, specific text, I like all my music to have the feeling that it is organically being self-propelled – on the spot - as if we listeners are overhearing (capturing) an un-notated, spontaneously embodied improvisation.

"I want all of my works to be enacted and performed with spontaneity, alertness, naturalness and musicality. This very invitation is clearly caressed on every page of the score of SPKTS."

"SPKTS is, at its core, an opera with the inner life of a captured improvisation. I am calling for ALL artists react to one another in real time, spontaneously - and not in any stylized manner - making every performance of SPKTS full of life and inner-flow — and each performance, even by the same artists, a little different from any other performance of it."

"In the opera, Nicole, the special guest artist, beatboxes and sings. The other vocalists sing and, from time to time, develop a wide variety of vocalizations akin to beatboxing. As such, the opera organically unfolds a sound world where different musical traditions crisscross and are deeply integrated." The composer's website

"The music of Augusta Read Thomas ... is majestic, it is elegant, it is lyrical, it is "boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music." Philadelphia Inquirer

"Born in Glen Cove, New York, Thomas was appointed University Professor of Composition at the University of Chicago in 2011. University Professors are selected for internationally recognized eminence in their fields as well as for their potential for high impact across the University. Thomas became the 16th person ever to hold a University Professorship. Additionally, she was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) from May 1997 through June 2006, a residency that culminated in the premiere of Astral Canticle — one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music. During her residency with the CSO, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim, Thomas not only premiered nine commissioned works, but also founded, along with Cliff Colnot, and curated the MusicNOW series. In addition to Barenboim, Thomas's music has been championed by other leading conductors including Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Oliver Knussen, Seiji Ozawa, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Christoph Eschenbach, Ken-David Masur, William Boughton, Vimbayi Kaziboni, Ludovic Morlot, and Xian Zhang. Her music has been commissioned by leading ensembles and organizations around the world including: Love Songs (Chanticleer); Chanting to Paradise (NDR [German Radio] Orchestra); Song in Sorrow (The Cleveland Orchestra); Orbital Beacons, Aurora, In My Sky at Twilight, Ceremonial, Carillon Sky, Words of the Sea, Trainwork, Tangle, and Astral Canticle (Chicago Symphony Orchestra); Gathering Paradies (New York Philharmonic); Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun (Santa Fe Opera in association with San Francisco Opera and 7 other opera houses); Far Past War (The Washington Choral Arts Society); Sun Dance (Indianapolis Symphony); Prayer Bells (Pittsburgh Symphony); Bells Ring Summer (La Jolla Chamber Music Society); Galaxy Dances, and Cello Concerto (National Symphony); Violin Concerto #3 (Radio France and the BBC Orchestra); Helios Choros I (Dallas Symphony); Helios Choros II (London and Boston Symphony Orchestras); Helios Choros III (Orchestre de Paris); Pulsar (BBC); Terpsichore's Dream (Utah Symphony); Canticle Weaving (Los Angeles Philharmonic); and Cantos for Slava (ASCAP Foundation).

From 1993 to 2001, Thomas was an assistant professor, then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music, and from 2001 until 2006 she was the Wyatt Professor of Music at Northwestern University. She taught for many years at the Tanglewood Music Festival and at the Aspen Music Festival. Frequently, Thomas undertakes short-term residencies in colleges, universities, and festivals across the United States and in Europe.

Thomas studied composition with Jacob Druckman at Yale University, with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1991–94) and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College (1990–91), and often teaches composition at Tanglewood. Thomas is Vice President for Music, The American Academy of Arts and Letters; member of the Board of Directors of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.; member of the Board of Directors of the Koussevitzky Foundation; member of the Board of Directors of the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University; and member of the Conseil Musical de la Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco.

She was on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center for 11 years from 2000 to 2011; Chair of the Board of the American Music Center, a volunteer position, from 2005 to 2008; on the board of the ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) for many years; on the boards of several chamber music groups; and was Director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood in 2009.

In 2013, Nimbus Records embarked on a project to record her complete works and has released 8 CDs to date; 89 CDs containing her music have been released by commercial record companies.

Thomas is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.” The composer’s website.

Item #34964

Price: $14,000.00  other currencies

See all items in Autographs & Manuscripts
See all items by