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21C Unruly Sun

21C Unruly Sun A Theatrical Song Cycle Inspired by Derek Jarman's Modern Nature
Unruly Sun photo
January 29, 2023 | 3:00 PM
  • Starting at: $21.00
  • Venue: Mazzoleni Concert Hall
  • Series: 21C Music Festival
  • Genre: Classical, New Music, Vocal
  • Presenter: The Royal Conservatory

Music by Matthew Ricketts
Libretto by Mark Campbell
Commissioned by the Orchestre classique de Montréal, 21C Music Festival and Brott Music Festival

A dramatic song cycle composed by Matthew Ricketts, with libretto by Mark Campbell, starring tenor Karim Sulayman. Unruly Sun is inspired by the life of filmmaker and queer activist Derek Jarman and his popular memoir, Modern Nature. Across 18 songs, the work celebrates Jarman as an artist and a person living with AIDS – and his efforts to create a garden at Prospect Cottage, a fisherman’s cabin on the unforgiving southern coast of England. This world premiere project is a co-commission with the 21C Music Festival, L’Orchestre classique de Montréal, and Brott Opera (Hamilton).
New York City-based Canadian composer Matthew Ricketts, a 2020 Gaudeamus Finalist and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, is noted for his “effervescent and at times prickly sounds … hypnotically churning exploration of melody” (ICareIfYouListen) as well as “tart harmonies and perky sputterings” (The New York Times). His music, which moves from extremes of presence and absence, from clamor to quietude, at once reticent and flamboyant, has been called “lyrical, contrapuntal, rhythmically complex and highly nuanced” (The American Academy of Arts and Letters).
A native of Chicago, Lebanese American tenor Karim Sulayman has garnered international attention for his sensitive and intelligent musicianship, riveting stage presence, and beautiful voice. Named Critic’s Choice by Opera News, and praised for his “lucid, velvety tenor and pop-star charisma” by BBC Music magazine, he won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. His second solo album, Where Only Stars Can Hear Us, of Schubert Lieder with fortepianist Yi-heng Yang, was released on AVIE in March 2020, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart, and has received widespread critical acclaim, including on The New York Times’ Best Classical Music of 2020. 

Presented in association with Pride Toronto.
Music: Matthew Ricketts
Libretto: Mark Campbell
Karim Sulayman, tenor
L’Orchestre classique de Montréal  string quintet & piano
Michel-Maxime Legault, stage director
Anne-Catherine Simard Deraspe, lighting

21C Music Festival