a chamber opera in one act
By Dylan Schneider
After a play by Sławomir Mrożek
Duration: 25 minutes
Cast: tenor, baritone, female voice
Instrumentation: fl, cl, accordion, pno, perc,
2 vln, 2 vla, 2 vcl
Premiere: May 18, 2013
Conductor: Cliff Colnot
Ensemble: eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet,
Stas Venglevski (bayan)
STRIP-TEASE (2013) is a chamber opera by American composer Dylan Schneider. It received its premiere during the inaugural season of the Logan Center for the Arts, as part of the Contempo series at the University of Chicago. The performance featured three singers and the University of Chicago's two Grammy-Award-winning ensembles in residence: eighth blackbird and the Pacifica String Quartet.
The story is the composer's own adaptation of a play by esteemed Polish dramatist Sławomir Mrożek (1930-2013), whose works written durign the early years of post-war communism offer a satirical crituque of life under an oppressive regime, often disguised in surreal circumstances. In the opera, a pair of office workers find themselves detained, for unknown reasons, in an empty room. Instead of escaping through the unlocked doors, the men quarrel about whether or not they are truly free to leave. Soon, however, it is too late: a supernatural, man-sized hand crawls into the room, subjecting the pair to outlandish punishments.