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ArtsEmerson’s Season Includes New Opera, Socially Distanced Acrobats, And More

The very popular 7 Fingers acrobatic troupe will perform virtually from October 5 through October 17. (Photo by Antoine Seychal)

Good news for theater goers — ArtsEmerson’s will feature in-person and virtual events for its 2021-2022 season.

“As our city is emerging from the extended pandemic, ArtsEmerson is optimistic about the opportunity to once again feel the close community of theatregoers joining in person at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre and the three venues within the Emerson Paramount Center,” said David C. Howse, ArtsEmerson’s Executive Director.

The season kicks off with a free streaming on-demand performance by The 7 Fingers from October 5 to October 17. The 7 Fingers acrobatic troupe have been a staple of ArtsEmerson for several years, and this show follows up their virtual show Sequence 8 from last year.

This year’s show, Out Of Order, is a show that embraces social distancing. Set in a time when theatres are empty, meeting places and cultural venues are no longer permitted, and physical contact is prohibited. Artists are forced to meet secretly in forsaken spaces. Spread out across this post-apocalyptic setting, ten gloved and masked characters scrutinize one another, prepare, approach, and avoid contact.

View a French trailer of Out of Order on YouTube

The new season continues ArtsEmerson’s commitment to international work with an emphasis on uplifting marginalized voices by supporting the presentation and development of work created by artists of color.

Woman looking at camera while sitting down
esperanza spalding stars in Iphigenia. (Photo by Sean Pressley)

ArtsEmerson’s first live show in 20 months will be November 12 with the world premiere of Iphigenia, a contemporary opera directed by Lileana Blain Cruz, created by jazz legend and composer Wayne Shorter, Grammy winning musician esperanza spalding, and famed architect Frank Gehry is the scenic designer.

A stuffed animal white rabbit
ArtsEmerson artist in residence Nassim Soleimanpour’s live show White Rabbit Red Rabbit will debut in December. (Photo courtesy Boat Rocker Entertainment LLC)

Iphigenia is not an adaptation of the Greek myth as much as it is an intervention into myth-making itself, and an intervention into opera as we know it. Classical and jazz forms collide in a full orchestral score that features Wayne Shorter’s groundbreaking method of symphonic improvisation, with his venerated quartet at the center. Iphigenia is deeply poetic and then suddenly radical – as Iphigenia is multiplied, her identity is fractured and shared until the stage is occupied by a chorus of her.

In December, ArtsEmerson artist in residence Nassim Soleimanpour’s live show White Rabbit Red Rabbit will include a different performer for all of its six performances. The play is about contemporary Iran and of Nassim’s generation. Forbidden to leave his country, Soleimanpour distilled the experience of an entire generation in a wild, utterly original play.

Read The Boston Globe’s coverage of ArtsEmerson’s 2021-2022 season

After twice being rescheduled and twice being canceled, the long-awaited adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon will be performed live in February. This production is the result of a years-long development process, part of which was ArtsEmerson’s presentation of The Concert Performance in 2017.

The cast of Parable of the Sower, which will performed live in February. (Photo by Paul Marotta)

”As last year was about adapting and experimenting, I’ve been speaking about this season as a ‘bridge year,’ a year of ArtsEmerson which may not look like what everyone has known, but where we are expanding our vision about what our programming can be, learning what tools can broaden our reach and accessibility, and ultimately understanding how we can apply all these insights to inform how we chart our future,” said Howse.

Howse will continue the ArtsEmerson Public Dialogue events, including Town Halls with Howse, which take attendees behind the scenes to understand the innerworkings of the organization, and Creative Connections, which put audiences in direct conversation with artists.

To learn more about these shows and about ArtsEmerson’s 2021-2022 season, there will be a free virtual season preview event on August 3 at 5 pm. Registration is required.

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