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  • Writer's pictureIlona Oltuski

Houses of Zodiac-poems for cello: Jeffrey Zeigler fiercely interprets Paola Prestini's dynamic work

Presented by the reliably unpredictable Death of Classical , Brooklyn's National Sawdust re-opened its doors after 18 pandemic months with an intimate work by its muse and artistic director Paola Prestini. Death of Classical's current two concert series, The Crypt Sessions and The Angel's Share, are created and curated by PR powerhouse Andrew Ousley, with a great track record of leading artsy audiences to new and spirited watering holes.

Prestini, who has become a leading force on the new music horizon, describes Houses of Zodiac in a soulful reflection: “It represents a family of sound bound by years of friendship, collaboration, and poetic imagery." Intimate, yet with grandiose gestures, Houses Of Zodiac: Poems for Cello produced by recording engineer Adam Abeshouse and released today, features her husband, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler in three personal encounters titled Interludes. Each solo cello work, represents a part of Prestini’s creative journey since her days at Juilliard with Oceano, to more recent works like Eight Takes, performed over recorded back tracks by Zeigler, her husband and as she says “fiercest interpreter.”

The intimate atmospheric, battery operated candle lit stage supported by superb stage lighting, was augmented by filmed interludes created by Murat Eyuboglu, and intersected with poetry recited on stage, by its author, Brenda Shaughnessy, also read by Maria Popova and Prestini. The filmed interludes - in unison with Zeigler's virtuosity, weaved majestic backdrops of nature's repository of ocean waves and starry firmament, into dancers fantastical movements in fluid immersions between sculpture like silhouettes in Harlekin makeup/costumes, to neo-realistic poses. Choreography and performances by

dancers Dai Matsuoka and Georgina Pazcoguin.

The prerecorded surround sound effects definitely built a dynamic contrast to the onstage performance, and created, especially in the last of its three interludes a truly magical work, imbued with Prestini’s passion for multi-genre collaboration. Because of her deeply felt artistic bonds with the artists present, she calls it “our family album.”


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