The Temptation of St Antony
A euphoric rite of music, dance, and visual theatre. A sublime multi-sensory meditation on being and belief in the age of information. The primordial howl of the first desert ascetic reverberates into the 21st century with otherworldly choreography and an avant-pop score for harp, strings, woodwind, and junkyard percussion.
“a sensual, intellectual, and vastly entertaining feast……superb ensemble…..flawless orchestra…..one of the best original scores in recent memory”
“seriously imaginative, wondrously immersive”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
“You walk away with the sense that you’ve seen something extraordinary...You’re held in ecstatic thrall from start to finish.”
THE HUFFINGTON POST
"brilliant postmodern opera"
“It’s a level of sophistication and artistry we don’t see enough of in LA theater…...one part art installation, one part theater, one part opera, with stunning live musicians. Four Larks hurdles over the boundaries between genres to create immersive, transformative events."
"A wonderment like no other in recent memory...The Temptation of St Antony is as all-consuming in its concerns, and as vivid and innovative in its theatrical gestures, as Einstein on the Beach, but compresses it all into a mere 75 minutes"
A FOOL IN THE FOREST
"Four Larks is making sophisticated, multi-layered, works of art that are bending genres and enchanting audiences...with some of the most vital design in LA theater...These are more than shows, they’re experiences"
OPENING THE CURTAIN
"a modern epic odyssey...exquisite choreography...dreamlike score...the ensemble is incredible!"
St. Antony has shut himself high up in the inner mountain with only his sacred texts for company. Late at night, mythic phantasms leap out of the pages to challenge his fixed understanding of the universe. Seduced by the Queen of Sheba, hosted by King Nebuchadnezzar, entranced by gnostic shamans, and serenaded by gods, monsters and mythical beasts, Antony's quest flings him between an unknowable past and a terrifying future.
Mat Sweeney and Ellen Warkentine's score weaves ancient desert timbers and Romantic-era reverie into a soulful and psychedelic dreamscape. The hermit’s cavern resounds with mystic mountain chants and interdimensional spirituals from our acclaimed international ensemble of multi-instrumentalists. This virtuosic chamber orchestra unearths an acoustic shangri-la from classical and folk instruments and a junkpile of found and rediscovered objects, accented by hypnotizing vocals.
LA WEEKLY best of la
LOS ANGELES TIMES critics' pick
KCRW best of 2015
OVATION AWARD best music
OVATION AWARD best ensemble
STAGE RAW top ten
FABRIK best of 2016
HUFFINGTON POST recommended
LA WEEKLY "go!"
Concept and Performance Score by Mat Sweeney with lyrics by Jesse Rasmussen, adapted from fragments of Gustave Flaubert’s La Tentation de St Antoine
Music by Mat Sweeney & Ellen Warkentine
Directed by Mat Sweeney and Choreographed with Sebastian Peters-Lazaro
Scenic, Costume, and Properties Design by Sebastian Peters-Lazaro & Regan Baumgarten
Lighting Design by Brandon Baruch
Sound Designed by Danny Echevarria
Promotional Photography by Michael Amico Make-Up by Alessandro Rumie
Kalean Ung / Esther Hannaford
The Queen of Sheba, Sophia, Cybelle
Ammonaria, Isis, Lust, Death
Zachary Carlisle Sanders
The Gymnosophist, Mani, Apollo
King Nebuchadnezzar, Valentine, Bacchus
Piano & Clarinet
Kevin Schlossman / Josiah Miller