On the heels of his Composer of the Year honor from Musical America, BAM presents the latest work from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. love fail marries evocative new music with timeless storytelling to tell a tale of love found yet unfulfilled, performed by the ravishing voices of legendary early music group Anonymous 4.
Assembled from a stunning range of texts—including medieval courtly love narratives by Marie de France, Gottfried von Strassburg, Beroul, and Thomas
of Britain, excerpts from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, writings by Lang, and short stories by MacArthur Fellow Lydia Davis—the words and music distill a single, universal tale about desire’s discontent, made luminous by one of the premiere vocal ensembles of our time.
On the creation of love fail, Lang said, “the first idea for this piece came out of the sound world of Anonymous 4. Their medieval-tinged, pure-toned, close-harmony singing seemed perfect for telling an intimate, emotional story of the way love might work in our lives, and the way it so often doesn’t.” In his first-time as a director, Lang works with a range of collaborators to, as he notes, “heighten the music’s sense of intimacy.”
“From Jennifer Tipton’s warm, environmental glow, to Jim Findlay’s dramatically elemental sets and startling videos, to Jody Elff’s subtly evolving resonances, and Suzanne Bocanegra’s elegant, modern costumes, we have been careful to add just enough theatricality to focus all attention on the singers and their story,” said Lang, “The theater emerges from the music—it becomes a physical manifestation of the interior life of the text.”