Death with Interruptions SOLD OUT!

SAN FRANCISCO - 2 performances:
Thursday, March 19, 2015 8PM
Saturday, March 21, 2015 8PM
ODC Theater 3153 17th St, San Francisco

SOLD OUT both nights: Waitlist opens at ODC box office at 7pm.

Additional performance of excerpts from Death with Interruptions only (free and open to the public): 12:15pm, Monday, March 16, 2015 at Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus 

Franz  Schubert · Andante con moto from String Quartet No.14 in D Minor, D.810, “Death and the Maiden”
Kurt Rohde · Death with Interruptions adapted by Thomas Laqueur from the novel by José Saramago, presented in collaboration with Volti SF · WORLD PREMIERE


Civic Center blog: Death with Interruptions by Michael Strickland, March 22, 2015

Radio interview with Kurt Rohde by KDFC's Jeffrey Freymann, March 19, 2015

SF Chronicle preview Composers find new inspiration in chamber operas by Joshua Kosman, March 17, 2015

California Magazine: Death Goes to the Opera by Steven Winn, March 16, 2015

SF Classical Voice preview:  Composer Rohde Wins Award, Prepares for Death With Interruptions by Jeff Kaliss, March 11, 2015


Dress rehearsal photos on flickr 
"Best of"dress rehearsal photos (resized to 300dpi 5x7)


Left Coast presents a new dramatic musical work based on Nobel Prize winner José Saramago's novel Death with Interruptions. With music composed by Kurt Rohde and a libretto by the distinguished UC Berkeley historian Thomas Laqueur, the story recounts what happens when death, who lives in an unnamed Iberian country with her taciturn scythe, falls in love with the principal cellist of a local orchestra and fails to claim his life.  

Death with Interruptions, the first LCCE opera production, is written for three solo singers (death, cellist, and scythe/dog/narrator); a chamber ensemble of solo cello, piano, percussion, offstage string quartet, and electronics; and a chamber choir of 16 voices. Soprano Nikki Einfeld, performing the role of death, is joined by baritone Daniel Cilli, tenor Joe Dan Harper, and noted Bay Area vocal ensemble Volti San Francisco, along with Left Coast Chamber Ensemble musicians featuring cellist Leighton Fong. Matilda Hofman will conduct; the director is Majel Connery.

The program opens with a contrasting take on the imagined embodiment of death––Franz Schubert's famous Andante con moto from String Quartet No.14 in D Minor, D.810, Death and the Maiden.

Opera running time: 90 minutes
Q&A with artists after the final performance!




Nikki Einfeld:  death - soprano

Daniel Cilli: cellist - baritone

Joe Dan Harper: scythe/dog/narrator - tenor

Volti San Francisco: chorus/chamber choir

Leighton Fong: featured solo cellist

Matilda Hofman, conductor

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble: ensemble of piano, percussion, string quartet, and electronics


March 8: Kurt Rohde on the radio with Sarah Cahill
Kurt Rohde will be talking about Death with Interruptions on Sarah Cahill's show Revolutions Per Minute on Sunday March 8 at 9pm on KALW (91.7 FM). A great chance to hear Kurt's thoughts on composing the music for his first opera and working with the talents of Thomas Laqueur (librettist), Majel Connery (director), Nikki Einfeld (soprano) and the whole ensemble. You can also listen live at

March 16: Free performance at UC Berkeley
Additional free performance of excerpts from Death with Interruptions only: 12:15pm, Monday, March 16, 2015 at Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

In conjunction with the opera's premiere, UC Berkeley's Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities will host two discussions with noted scholars and artists. These talks are free of charge and all are welcome to attend. Meet Tom Laqueur and read more about these events at UC Berkeley.

March 18: The Art and Craft of Translation
Wednesday, March 18, 5-7pm
UC Berkeley Campus: 308A Doe Library

The longtime translator of José Saramago's work, Margaret Jull Costa, joins in a discussion with other noted translators: Paula Varsano (Chinese), Dennis Washburn (Japanese), and Robert Alter (Hebrew). More information...

March 19: Making an Opera
Thursday, March 19, 12-2 pm
UC Berkeley Campus: 3335 Dwinelle Hall

Mary Ann Smart (UC Berkeley, Music) leads a discussion about the new opera, Death With Interruptions, with librettist Thomas Laqueur, composer Kurt Rohde, director Majel Connery and Shalom Goldman (co-librettist of the Philip Glass opera Akhnaten). More information...

“In this re-imagined tale of the Orpheus myth, it is death that rises to the land of the living, passing through the music of mankind, becoming more and more human as she fulfills her journey,” explains composer Kurt Rohde. “As desire takes hold, death decides to love, which means she has to become human and relinquish her authority. Things get messy when living the lives we do, subconsciously operating on the premise that death will take us someday, suddenly we get a new book of rules to work with and no one knows exactly what to do next. Not even death.”

About the Artistic Team

Kurt Rohde

Kurt Rohde

Internationally known composer Kurt Rohde is founding Artistic Director of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. He has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard University, two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and other important commissions and awards. Also a professional violist, he was a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra from 1993–2013 and co-founded the LCCE in 1992. He is Professor of Music Composition and Theory at University of California, Davis.

Thomas Laqueur

Thomas Laqueur

Librettist Thomas Laqueur is the author of four books and hundreds of articles and reviews. In connection with his forthcoming The Work of the Dead he was interviewed on the NPR program To the Best of Our Knowledge this year. A prolific writer, he contributes regularly to print and online publications, from The London Review of Books to His most recent two books are Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Harvard University Press, 1990) and Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation (Zone Books, 2003). Dr. Laqueur is the Helen Fawcett Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nikki Einfeld

Nikki Einfeld

Lyric Coloratura soprano, Nikki Einfeld has been widely recognized for her “high flying virtuosity” (New York Times) as well as “a bright, lithe tone, pinpoint accuracy and a saucy stage demeanor” (San Francisco Chronicle). A former Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, she received further acclaim as a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Majel Connery

Majel Connery


Director Majel Connery is Executive and Artistic Director of Opera Cabal, a Chicago- and New York-based contemporary opera ensemble. She is Visiting Assistant Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Music Department at UC Berkeley. Connery works on issues of staging practice on the modern operatic stage.

Daniel Cilli

Daniel Cilli

Hailed for his “magnificent purity of expression” (Fanfare Magazine) and “stirring delivery” (Boston Globe), tenor Joe Dan Harper is a versatile and engaging interpreter of a wide-ranging repertoire from Schubert to Britten. Mr. Harper has performed widely with such groups as The Boston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Boston Academy of Music, Central City Opera, Handel & Haydn Society, South Carolina Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Utah Opera, and has been heard in such venues as Boston’s Jordan Hall, Berlin’s Gorki Theater, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Baritone Daniel Cilli studied music at Stetson University, New England Conservatory, and Lieder at the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden-bei Wien, Austria. He has also studied and performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Louisiana Philharmonic, Pacific Chamber Symphony, Tanglewood Music Festival, Utah Opera, Utah Symphony, West Edge Opera. 

Joe Dan Harper

Joe Dan Harper

Matilda Hofman

Matilda Hofman

Conductor Matilda Hofman has a varied career in Europe and the US. She has conducted Luigi Nono’s Prometeo at the Salzburg Festival, Berliner Festspiele, Tonhalle Zurich and Holland Festival. She has worked with Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Recherche, Kammerakademie Potsdam and upcoming the SWR Sinfonie-Orchester. In California she has conducted for Festival Opera, the Sierra Summer Festival and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. She is conductor for Empyrean Ensemble and Music Director of the Diablo Symphony Orchestra.

Volti San Francisco, an ensemble of twenty professional singers under the direction of founder and Artistic Director Robert Geary, is dedicated to the discovery, creation, and performance of new vocal music. The ensemble’s mission is to foster and showcase contemporary American music and composers, and to introduce contemporary vocal music from around the world to local audiences. The group has commissioned nearly 100 new works, by emerging as well as established composers. Volti boasts a 35-year track record of some of the most sophisticated vocal performances in the nation and is a six-time recipient of the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

Support provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award granted to Professor Thomas Laqueur.

Image designs: Kirk Richard Smith, Naissance Inc.