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Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

A visually stunning, musical, and poetic exploration of legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

OCT 30–NOV 03, 2019

Critical Praise

"Triptych explores the very limits of artistic expression for an age in which almost nothing seems shocking."
Boston Classical Review
"One of my friends commented that although he’d seen many shows at ArtsEmerson, this one seemed to generate the most discussion afterwards. What more can one ask from a work of art?"
Theater Mirror
There was the re-imagining of a Monteverdi madrigal that laments a dead beloved, underlining the fact that Mapplethorpe, Hemphill, and many of the men pictured would perish young in the AIDS crisis. Isaiah Robinson, a simmering force of a tenor with a falsetto to die for, lined out a keening hymn while vocal band Roomful of Teeth backed him up with haunting, laser-precise harmonies. Singing a velvety spiritual, Alicia Hall Moran wielded her mezzo voice like a knife made of rose petals."
– The Boston Globe
"Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) serves up a cool emotional package: the vocal wizardry of Roomful of Teeth, the eye-catching photographs of Mapplethorpe, and the dense poetry of Smith and Hemphill."
– The Arts Fuse
"Sentimental and ferocious. Triptych accomplishes what art does best, which is to serve as a pointer toward further thought."
San Francisco Chronicle
“A re-examination and an exaltation of the photographer’s enduring imagery, with its classical beauty and raw eroticism."
– ArtNews
“Roomful of Teeth deliver a superb performance"
– Hyperallergic
“Dessner’s music was melodically involving and wonderfully performed…like ghostly mournful cries, which underscored the serious intent…two thrilling soloists…not just about Mapplethorpe’s legacy but also a statement about how we suspiciously live in America.”
– CityBeat
"A radical new work...there was no singular emotional direction a work of this scope could portray, and composer Bryce Dessner fluidly swept us from the awe-inspiring cathedral, to the cold and calculating courtroom, to the intimate bedroom with a score that surged with electricity, sparkling clarity, and biting poignancy."
— artseen
“Beautifully crafted and performed”
— San Francisco Classical Voice
“What came through most clearly – often thrillingly – was the score...Gorgeous vocal sound for its own sake...Moran…delivered the goods with authority...My overall impression was one of the sheer joy of singing.”
— Classical Voice North America
“Witty and wicked...forbidding and seductive...Dessner is at his best...The language is stylized and extravagantly poetic, matching the photographs’ explicit sexual content while meeting their cool elegance with punk Romanticism.””
— The New York Times

On Bryce Dessner

"Dessner personifies what appears to be a generational shift in musicians.”
— The Washington Post
"A man who slips in and out of musical guises with disarming ease...this is gorgeous and full-hearted music."”

Audience Raves

"Overwhelmingly somber and memorable." - Eileen M., Facebook
"Loved it...beautiful." - Steve B., Facebook
"Wow! Tryptich was gorgeous." - Kristin M., Facebook


A lens on Robert Mapplethorpe in Bryce Dessner’s ‘Triptych’
– The Boston Globe
Anti-Biopic 'Triptych' Shows Us Robert Mapplethorpe's Provoking Work In A New Light
– WBUR, The ARTery
‘Triptych’ sets Mapplethorpe to music 
– Boston Herald
'Roomful Of Teeth' On Experimenting With The Human Voice, Refocusing Their Mission
'Alive in the Moment' — Playwright Korde Arrington Tuttle talks Robert Mapplethorpe and 'Triptych'
– Edge Media Network
Exposing Mapplethorpe in daring tribute "Triptych" at Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
‘Triptych’ is a meditation on provocative photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s work
– Berkeley News
Robert Mapplethorpe Inspires Bryce Dessner’s New Multimedia Opera
– San Francisco Classical Voice
Vocal Frontiersman: Brad Wells and Roomful of Teeth
– San Francisco Classical Voice