Bent Frequency to perform new chamber opera


8 p.m. Oct. 29 and 30. Free. Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-981-3023,

In the chamber opera “DeCachetitoRaspado” (“Cheek to Stubbled Cheek”) by contemporary Mexican composer Juan Trigos, a married couple — Pimancianita and Juansonrisa — spend their days drinking and doing drugs, drifting in and out of reality.

During the opera, the two principals act out their innermost thoughts and impressions, paying no attention to decorum or societal norms.

The challenging, engaging opera will be performed Oct. 29 and 30 at Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts by the Atlanta-based chamber music ensemble Bent Frequency. Admission will be free.

Bent Frequency’s Stuart Gerber said performing new works like these is an important part of the ensemble’s mission.

“There is a wide range of new chamber operas in the repertoire, and these aren’t really being produced in Atlanta on a regular basis,” he said.

Trigos’ father, celebrated author Juan Trigo Synister, wrote the libretto in his self-described comic-hemofiction style. The genre, Gerber said, encompasses “abstract folklore about everyday people who tend to behave in very destructive ways.” This destruction is mirrored in spindly, sometimes abrasive, music.

“It’s actually comic, in the ancient Greek theatrical sense; however, the characters are really mocking their own lives as they are living them,” Gerber said.

For the performance, the nine-piece ensemble will be joined by the composers; mezzo-soprano Amy Sheffer; baritone César Torruella; soprano Daniela D’Ingiullo; tenor Esteban Cordero; dancers Daniela Arroio and Anna Mariscal; and a choir of local singers.

Gerber said the opera fits the Bent Frequency mold because it requires “limited instrumental and vocal forces.” The ensemble previously has worked with Trigos on a number of projects, and Gerber said he has been performing the composer’s music for more than a decade.

“Juan is a first-rate composer, with a truly unique compositional voice, and we think more people need to hear his music live,” Gerber said.

Bent Frequency has been focused on chamber opera, Gerber said, producing pieces that don’t quite translate to the larger scale of the Atlanta Opera. Geber said he hopes to perform more major works in the future, noting that Bent Frequency will aim to produce chamber operas on a yearly basis.