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Photo: Wonge Bergman

Reich, Steve

Three Tales (2001)

Duration: 60 minutes
Part I: Hindenburg/Part II: Bikini/Part III: Dolly

documentary material (E)

Additional texts are required to be printed in program books for
performances of this work.

for vocal quintet: 2S,3T
ensemble: perc(4):2vib/2SD/2pedal kick dr/susp.cym/lg gong-2pft-string quartet-pre-recorded tape

Akai 24 track hard disk unit or DA-88 tape playback and high-quality video projection equipment required

Abbreviations (PDF).

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Museumsquartier, Vienna
Beryl Korot, video
Conductor: Bradley Lubman
Company: Ensemble Modern / Synergy Vocals

Time and Place
Act I: The Zeppelin crash in 1937 Act II: Atom bomb testing at the Bikini atoll in 1946 Act III: Cloning of adult sheep in Scotland, 1997

Three Tales is a three act digital video opera in which historical film and video footage, videotaped interviews, photographs, text and specially constructed stills are recreated on the computer, transferred back to video tape and projected on one large 32 foot screen. Sixteen musicians and singers take their place onstage along with the screen.

Three Tales recalls three well known events from the early, middle and late 20th century: Hindenberg, Bikini, and Dolly. Each of these reflects on the growth and implications of technology during the 21st century from early air transport and world wars to the current ethical debate about the future of our species. This debate about the physical, ethical and religious nature of the expanding technological environment has continued and grown pervasive since 1945.

The first tale, Hindenburg, tells of the zeppelin’s explosion in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. The unambiguously positive attitude towards technology is presented through newscasters of the era. The second, Bikini, is based on footage, photographs, and text from the Atom bomb tests at Bikini atoll in 1946-1954. It also tells of the dislocation and relocation of the Bikini people, living totally outside the Western world which determined their fate. The third tale, Dolly, takes its title from the adult sheep cloned in Scotland in 1997. It deals extensively with the idea of the human body as a machine, genetic engineering, technological evolution and robotics.
Steve Reich


Contemporary, History, Politics, Society

Recommended Recording
Beryl Korot, video / Steve Reich Ensemble / Synergy Vocals / Bradley Lubman
Nonesuch 7559 79835-2 (CD+DVD)

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