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December 2014
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SONGS OF THE MAD MUEZZIN

Argument: Is reconciliation of physical and spiritual love possible? This interrelated multimedia collaboration will examine the heroic notions of Orphic elegy, the subject of voice, artistic and erotic revelations of self, and the Dionysian ecstatic rites of breaking down unreliable cultural perceptions. The haunting calls of the Muezzin (Muslim prayer crier) are fused with a love-death relationship that approaches the edge of madness. Moving from one extreme to another, the Muezzin transforms emotional realism into transcendental dualism, and at one point completely abandons his religious belief. He addresses the issues of human sensibility and discovers that his own individual personal right to choose is worth more than anything ever achieved within society's hypocritical moral sense.

Scenario: After suffering a mental breakdown from losing his beloved Eurydice, Orpheus is committed into a sanatorium. Slowly divorcing his identity from reality, he deliriously imagines himself as a Muezzin, a Muslim crier of prayer, confined to sing forever in a mysterious minaret. Overseeing the whole action is the beautiful god Dionysus, whose divine power affects everyone around him. Starting from the point of Szymanowski struggling to maintain his vigor while dying from throat cancer, the story moves forward as the composer recollects his brief but intense love affair with a talented youth, Boris Kochno, and discovers the ecstatic rites of Dionysus. At the same time, the demented Orpheus (or the Mad Muezzin), communicating only through a song, discovers the erotic truth of love, only to abandon it in the end, henceforth forcing the destruction of his own fragile body by the Maenads, the female followers of Dionysus.

Delivery: Film installation by Sara Hegarty, projected slides, abstract paintings by Mara Devereux, and classical music are combined to create an experimental alternative to the traditional recital presentation of the classical voice cycle. Through the union of theatre, opera, essay, acting, movement and visual design, the MAD MUEZZIN project presents to the USC community and the general public a better understanding and a new contemporary interpretation of Szymanowski's dramatic work. Visit www.madmuezzinproject.org.

TIMUR BEKBOSUNOV

Russian tenor and actor from Kazakhstan, Timur Bekbosunov, is a graduate student at the University of Southern California (USC), studying voice with Gary Glaze. He received his Master's degree in Boston, at the New England Conservatory, under the instruction of Patricia Craig and John Moriarty and his Bachelor's degree at WSU, under Dr. Dorothy Crum. He has appeared with many opera and theatre companies including ARTiSHOCK, the post-modern mime theatre in Kazakhstan (Cabaret-Moralite), OPERA BOSTON (Nixon in China), Harvard University's LOWELL OPERA (Eugene Onegin) and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra (Fidelio). He has premiered the tenor part composed by Evan Ziporyn (Bang on a Can All-Stars), at the American Repertory Theatre production of Oedipus, directed by Robert Woodruff, and premiered the revised version of Jeffrey Brody's Jabberwocky (Salem Philharmonic). Most recently, he portrayed the role of Tom Rakewell at USC Thornton Opera production of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, directed by Ken Cazan.This summer he performed at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and took part in the International Laureates' Festival (Los Angeles). As a founder and artistic director of The Chamber Opera of USC, Timur produced the world-premiere of Daron Aric Hagen's Broken Pieces. He serves as a creative consultant to the Art of Opera Foundation, and as a production assistant to Ken Cazan. In August, 2005, together with Anastasia Nemirovich-Danchenko, he opened a season of Beverly Hills Public Library series of Sunday at Two with a recital of Russian Romances. In his spare time he listens to the punk-cabaret The Dresden Dolls and translates the plays of Velimir Hlebnikoff, a Russian avant-garde writer of the early 20th century. Most recently, he collaborated with Roy Firestone on a theme-song for an independent feature film Mostly Unfabulous Life of Ethan Allan.