*ONE NIGHT ONLY
Presented by Benjamin Bagby
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THE EPIC IN PERFORMANCE
*This one-of-a-kind evening of theatre is NOT included in Season Membership packages and is brought to you in cooperation with Brigit Saint Brigit, the University of Nebraska at Omaha Medieval/Renaissance Studies and the College of St. Mary.
Hwaet, we gar-dena in gear-dagum
So! In days gone by we war-Danes
Were tribal kings…
Who and what is Beowulf? He is the hero of an Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name, which survives in a single manuscript dated to the early eleventh century; but versions of the poem are likely to have been around for hundreds of years before that. It is written in Old English, the language used in England roughly between the years 500 to 1100 AD. This epic poem is the product of a people in political, religious, and cultural transition. Beowulf explores timeless themes of individual glory in conflict with corruptible institutions; the anxiety of encountering the unknown, the different, the monstrous; and the troubling inherent conflicts at the heart of a warrior culture. Is Grendel truly a monster? Or is he merely reacting to an unwelcome invasion of his homeland? Does the hero Beowulf’s lofgernost—his eager longing for glory—work to preserve his society? Or is it a fatal flaw that will ultimately destroy his world? Listen to the epic that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s tales of Middle Earth sung in its original, ancient language—this is an event that promises to be unlike anything you have ever experienced.
Performed in the most prestigious venues all around the world:
Paris—Musée de Cluny
New York City--Carnegie Hall
Utrech Early Music Festival
Boston Early Music Festival
Moscow, Russia--Tchaikovsky Conservatory
Co-founder and Director of Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music, and as such one of the leading scholars of early music and the reconstructive performance of it. He is currently on the faculty of the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he teaches in the master’s program for medieval music performance practice. He is a leading scholar on not only the poem Beowulf, but also the cultural world in which it was created.
ABOUT THE PERFORMER
SELECTED PRESS REVIEWS
“His chants and songs carry clear echoes of Gaelic music, sea shanties, Appalachian hill tunes and bluegrass numbers…The talking blues is in there too; at times, Bagby’s Beowulf doesn’t seem that far from early Bob Dylan. His one-man show is a surprise and a delight.” San Jose Mercury News
“Bagby’s imaginative re-creation of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem…is a double tour de force of scholarly excavation and artistic dynamism…Bagby conjures up drama as varied and enthralling as an MGM costume epic. Those old Saxons weren’t so very different from us after all—a lesson that Bagby’s enthralling work makes perfectly clear.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Mr. Bagby comes as close to holding hundreds of people in a spell as ever a man has... That is much too rare an experience in theater.” The New York Times