The Peabody Post

George Peabody Library Hosts Film Screening of “On The Threshold of Winter”

Pre-screening panel discussion explores the journey of turning Peabody composer Michael Hersch’s “searing” opera into a film.

March 22, 2017, Baltimore, MD: The film version of Peabody Conservatory faculty composer Michael Hersch’s acclaimed monodrama On the Threshold of Winter will receive its local premiere in a screening at the George Peabody Library on Friday, April 7. The opera, which received its world premiere in 2014 and depicts a single character struggling through the intense emotional and physical turmoil of her final weeks with cancer, is hailed as “a work of great originality, daring, and disturbing power” (The Baltimore Sun) and “a masterpiece” (Cotidianul).

Mr. Hersch will be joined by the film’s director, James Matthew Daniel, and its soprano star, Peabody faculty artist Ah Young Hong, in a pre-screening panel discussion about the creative process of transforming the opera into a film.

Recently awarded the Johns Hopkins University President’s Frontier Award in recognition of his creative output and potential, Mr. Hersch has long been praised for his “extraordinarily communicative music” (The New York Times). Often inspired by poetry and visual art, he was moved to create On the Threshold of Winter after losing a close friend to cancer and battling the disease himself. The English text was adapted and translated from Romanian poet Marin Sorescu’s harrowing deathbed collection The Bridge, and the set incorporates sculptural figures by the Philadelphia artist Christopher Cairns. The film, made in collaboration with Navigate Films, was shot at the Peabody Institute.

Called “the opera’s blazing, lone star” (The New York Times), Peabody faculty soprano Ah Young Hong “delivered a tour de force” (The New Criterion) in the work’s world premiere and reprises the role in the film.

Filmmaker James Matthew Daniel directed Peabody’s October 2015 production of the opera and assembles the same musical forces for the film, with Tito Muñoz conducting the New York-based guest ensemble NUNC, Miranda Cuckson, artistic director.

On the Threshold of Winter will be screened at the George Peabody Library on Friday, April 7. Doors open at 6:30 pm for a light reception, with the panel discussion beginning at 7:00 pm and the film beginning at 8:00 pm. For tickets, which are free but limited in quantity, please call the Peabody Box Office at 667-208-6620.

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