'Bitter Banquet' a feast for the senses

Euripides may have written his tragedies about war, loss, and grief millennia ago, but their themes continue to resonate in the present day. The intense emotional lives of his female characters, in particular, are richly brought to life in “Bitter Banquet,” an original staged song cycle composed and performed by Annie Lewandowski, lecturer in music, which will be staged at the newly opened Cherry Artspace, 102 Cherry St., Ithaca, on September 29 and 30. 

Combining compelling visuals and lush music to striking synesthetic effect, the show threads together iconic moments in Euripides’ unflinching examinations of suffering. The performance features Professor of Music David Yearsley on baroque keyboards and percussionist Sarah Hennies. Samuel Buggeln directs and Benjy Brooke animates projections.

After Friday’s performance, scholars Verity Platt, associate professor of classics; Sara Warner, associate professor of performing and media arts; and Nancy Worman (Columbia) will discuss the reception of Euripidean drama in contemporary theatre.

Lewandowski is a composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist whose work has situated her between the worlds of improvisation and independent rock music, As an improviser, she has performed and recorded with Cornell’s CAGE ensemble, Fred Frith, Theresa Wong, Doublends Vert, and the London Improviser’s Orchestra, among others. Her band Powerdove performs internationally and has released eight recordings.

“Bitter Banquet" was previously performed at Cornell in 2016 as part of the ‘Sustaining the Antique’ event; a trailer from that event can be viewed here.

This will be the the first time a Cornell performance will take place in the Cherry Artspace, a “multidisciplinary locavore arts venue” founded by Buggeln and Nick Salvato, associate professor and chair of the department of performing and media arts (PMA).

Tickets are available here

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Image of Annie Lewandowski against red background