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“Ruth Margraff is a distinguished innovator capable of bending boundaries in opera and musical theater”~ City Pages (Minneapolis) ~
“Ruth Margraff is a vital voice in shaping the future of American theatre… a warrior writer riding the vanguard of New Wave opera, pushing the boundaries of the stage. To the prosaic ears of an American, Margraff's language might sound like music. It works on you like a song, the way a song can take you from one emotion to another between one note and the next. It works on you like a dream...She travels everywhere, like an electrifying idea.
“Margraff stretches the bounds of opera”
“An astonishing, well-crafted odyssey… world hybrid style of art that spans the continents… such passions vicariously open the deeper questions of life… CAFÉ ANTARSIA seeks to commemorate forgotten people as colossal and important. Margraff and Brisco push their boundaries into a new hybrid art form. They update the 1980s idea of hybrid multimedia theatre by merging East with West, the ancient with the avant-garde….graced with history, drama, poetry and extraordinary music.” ~ Red Snap Magazine
“…Tightly-rendered performances. Principal singers Nikos Brisco and Ruth Margraff both have attractive voices… Striking in its immediacy are songs which mix exotic, evocative lyrics (in English) with vigorous strummed guitars, undulating rhythmic grooves, and catchy vocal choruses. Café Antarsia Ensemble is a tight unit with compelling material of wide-ranging appeal.”
“Eastern folk…a churning, rhythmically sumptuous stew…gives a modern edge to the gypsy-folk feel…with great finesse so you can either dance away or feast your ears on the details. And the band members have such varied ethnic and professional backgrounds that Cafe Antarsia's adventurous crossbred sound seems perfectly natural and rings authentic.”~ City Music /Greater Rochester’s Alternative Weekly ~
DEADLY SHE-WOLFAT ARMAGEDDON (Japan Society 2005)
VOICE OF THE DRAGON 2 (Apollo Theater 2004):
“…Crackling music and boisterous narration…hilarious…This is adventuresome, visual music…and the 17th Century never seemed so modern.”
“…Stunning, kinetic, and beautiful…bold, poignant and provocative, it creates a dialogue that goes beyond and confronts.”
“…Manages to evoke both the exotic pomp of imperial Beijing and the rippling cool of a Soho nightclub.”
“Between the sublime and the scandalous”
“Revolutionary composer Fred Ho and downtown playwright Ruth Margraff fuse jazz, Chinese opera and martial arts to create a tale rife with deception, intrigue and political opportunism…”
VOICE OF THE DRAGON 1 (Brooklyn Academy of Music 2001)
NIGHT VISION (Cooper Union Grand Hall 1999, BAM Café,
NEO-Romantic Moments in Recent Theatre History & mandates for American Theatre they put forth:EXAMPLE: Ruth Margraff and Fred Ho premiere their extraordinary opera NIGHT VISION in 2000, telling the story of a super-star vampire eating her way out of the Third World to take over New York. In a vision/dream/press conference she returns to her home in the Arabian Desert. The vampire screams, the raw emotions over rawer music all combine to create a Neo-Romanti excess of politics, ideas and feeling that floods the stage like blood from a wound rent in the throat of the sky. MANDATE: Neo-Romanticism offers a freedom of dramatic structure and form that allows politics and complicated thought to transmogrify into pure emotion.”
“The Burlesque Flogging” from RED FROGS (Bottoms Dream 2001)
“Margraff’s sensational tale is part Norma Rae and part Barbarella on the beach. Gidget never had this much fun!”
"[RED FROGS] takes its audience on a joyful glee ride through a landscape of contemporary culture blurred and distorted by tidal waves and the author's own wicked sense of humor...the plays carnival atmosphere bursts with joie de vivre...While there's plenty of meaning to be found in RED FROGS…Margraff's message is a roller coaster of fun,"
"Cherish good avant-garde theater, like Red Frogs at P.S. 122...brilliant ideas build on one another like a crossword puzzle, and the stage and audience share an in-on-the-joke camaraderie...RED FROGS fuses a bewildering variety of ideas and themes and styles into an almost indescribable but very exciting evening."
THE ELEKTRA FUGUES (Bottoms Dream 1999)
"Passion Runs High in The Elektra Fugues...A fragmented, poetic...intriguing... vision of emotional discord.. of vengeance that plays on cultural archetypes"
THE ELEKTRA FUGUES (Tiny Mythic/HERE 1996) This cascading libretto...spinning emotional and scientific orbits...eloquently subtle symbioses...Elektra's gutteral ravings...with the vocal endurance of a quintet of Diamanda Galases...words would form into motivic images sliding into unison...spinning in emotional and stylistic orbits...subtle symbiosis...mesmerizing dynamic of rich material and uncanny artistry."
Margraff and Maner...succeed in something rich and strange... charged with bestial rage and soaring lyricism you are often, gratefully, thrown utterly off balance."
THE CRY PITCH CARROLLS (Salvage Vanguard 1999)