The Color of Dissonance
an opera in 5 scenes
by Jason Hoogerhyde

Libretto by Sergio Costola
Jason Hoogerhyde, and Kim Smith

 

 

Scene 1 – The Concert
 
An older Gabriele Münter thinks back on her life and collaboration with painter Wassily Kandinsky and composer Arnold Schönberg, in the years before World War I. The story of their initial contact, after a concert of Schönberg’s music, and sharing of common artistic aspirations, is recounted. 
 
Scene 2 – Der Blaue Reiter
 
Kandinsky and Schönberg lament the current state of affairs in artistic culture, lazy and soulless. Münter excitedly encourages Schönberg to join her and Kandinsky on their new artistic publication, Der Blaue Reiter, and its promotion of a new ‘inner necessity.’
 
Scene 3 – Kandinsky’s Colors
 
Kandinsky expresses his theories of the relationship between color and musical sound, and of the spiritual values of his paintings’ different hues.
 
Scene 4 – Frauenkultur
 
Caught between the towering artistic figures of Kandinsky and Schönberg, Münter struggles to express her own artistic voice in an overwhelmingly patriarchal culture. Kandinsky and Schönberg, upon considering Münter’s work, admit that, “she is good… for a woman.” Münter reacts with bold exclamations about the growing women’s movement of the day, before succumbing to a depression over her inability to accomplish anything more than ‘women’s work.’
 
Scene 5 – The Outbreak
 
As World War I looms on the horizon, the artistic optimism and idealism of Kandinsky, Schönberg, and Münter begins to crumble.