The production will appear at Radio City Music Hall on January 26 and include lasers as well as a 60-piece symphony orchestra – with no room for an audience.

Image via Antony and the Johnsons.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “MoMA commissions multimedia work by Antony and the Johnsons” was written by Sean Michaels, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 2nd November 2011 14.59 UTC

New York’s Museum of Modern Art has commissioned a new multimedia work by Antony Hegarty, including a performance of some of Antony and the Johnsons‘ greatest hits. Featuring lasers and a 60-piece symphony orchestra, the production will be mounted at Radio City Music Hall on 26 January 2012.

Confusingly, Hegarty has named this new work Swanlights – the same title as his most recent album, which was accompanied by a book of poetry and paintings. Although the staging of Swanlights will incorporate songs from that record, it will also draw on material from Hegarty’s previous three LPs, including the Mercury award-winning I Am a Bird Now. Announcing the project yesterday, the museum called it a “meditation on light, nature and femininity”.

Hegarty’s plans for the project just kept getting bigger, explained Klaus Biesenbach, the museum’s chief curator at large. Although the work was originally conceived for MoMA’s Marron Atrium, Biesenbach told the Times: “[It] became more and more clear … [that] because [Antony] fills it so much with light and sculptures and the orchestra – it’s so full, it literally wouldn’t allow for any audience any more.”

Swanlights has now relocated from the museum’s lofty halls to Radio City, 6,000-seat home of the Rockettes. But Biesenbach isn’t worried about diluting Hegarty’s vision. “If you have a scale from serious to popular, I see Antony very much on the serious side,” he said. “In German, we say something can be U or E. U is Unterhaltung, which is entertainment, and E is Ernst, which is serious. And I see him more at the E, and not on the U.”

The rest of Swanlights’ creative team includes arrangers Nico Muhly, Rob Moose and Maxim Moston, light artist Chris Levine, lighting designer Paul Normandale and set designer Carl Robertshaw. Tickets go on sale 12 November 2011.

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