Varispeed Perfect Lives, An opera by Robert Ashley

Perfect Lives
An opera by Robert Ashley
Saturday, August 17   7 half-hour episodes from 11:00 am–11:30 pm / FREE


Perfect Lives is a daylong, site-specific performance of Robert Ashley’s 1983 opera adapted by Varispeed. The performance consists of seven half-hour episodes staged throughout the Catskills.

As performers and audience members journey from place to place, participants imagine a folksy, Midwestern town where the bank tellers know the captain of the football team and everyone drinks together at the end of the night. Its seven episodes weave together stories of a mysterious crime, an elopement, and the mischief of two itinerant musicians. Both lofty and quotidian, Perfect Lives brings together musicians, performers, fans, and community members alike in a celebration of American opera.

Founded by Aliza Simons, Dave Ruder, Paul Pinto, Brian McCorkle, and Gelsey Bell, Varispeed is a collective of composer-performers that creates site-specific, sometimes-participatory, oftentimes-durational, forevermore-experimental events.

Robert Ashley, a distinguished figure in American contemporary music, holds an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects. His recorded works are acknowledged classics of language in a musical setting. First broadcast in Great Britain in 1984, Perfect Lives is widely considered to be the precursor of “music-television.”

Perfect Lives

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