28 Jan 2021

Mikel Rouse – Failing Kansas NZ Festival 2002 – YouTube Premiere Jan 29, 7:00PM

The 2002 performances of Failing Kansas at the New Zealand Festival created a scandal and ultimately a sensation. Credited with knocking Osama bin Laden off of the front page of the National newspaper and dominating TV and radio for days, the piece was ultimately a sold out triumph heralded as “A New Art Form.”

Now, almost twenty years later, Rouse has assembled the original footage and live recordings into a complete concert film. This film was completed January 2021. Music and Lyrics by Mikel Rouse. Films by Cliff Baldwin.

YouTube Premiere Link: https://youtu.be/8qcscxIeQQ4

“Opera deals with higher truths. And the particular path that Rouse is exploring has much promise for the advancement of a new and, in its own right, distinctly American art form.” -Mark Swed, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Failing Kansas is the best major work I’ve seen by someone of the new generation.” -Kyle Gann, VILLAGE VOICE

“Erase your images of opera. This is a multimedia experience that shatters boundaries of conventional thinking. The piece is riveting. You’re definitely not in Kansas anymore”. -UPI

“Rouse’s narrative transforms into an amazing, hypnotizing instrument of rhythm.” -Jeff Daniel, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

The opera Failing Kansas is the first full length work to explore the technique of vocal writing that I call Counterpoetry. Put simply, Counterpoetry is the use of multiple unpitched voices in strict metric counterpoint. Failing Kansas is based on the events surrounding the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas and inspired by the examination of those events in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.