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Veils for Desire Veils for Desire

March 31, 2021

A Chamber Concert Featuring Matthew Aucoin and Special Guests

At the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

An intimate musical traversal through the intricacies of human desire

The history of music is full of gorgeous expressions of hidden desires, from Beethoven’s longing for his “immortal beloved” to Tchaikovsky’s tortured expressions of his sexuality. Veils for Desire, an inventive new chamber concert program originally developed and produced by the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), is a gathering of music that “veils” or transforms unspeakable desires into new, mysterious forms.

The program includes music by Monteverdi, Matthew Aucoin, and Benjamin Britten, whose Abraham and Isaac, an unforgettable rendering of the Biblical story of a father commanded by God to slay his young son, serves as the program’s heart.

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and tenor Paul Appleby are joined by conductor Matthew Aucoin and instrumentalists from AMOC as well as special guest Wayne Koestenbaum, celebrated poet and scholar, whose playful, multi-layered texts—newly written for the occasion—will weave these works together.

Tickets currently available when you buy as part of a 2020/21 package.


"The songs chosen for Veils of Desire were so singular, so remarkable in the juxtaposition of words and eras."



Conductor / Pianist
Matthew Aucoin
Zack Winokur
Jonny Allen
Paul Appleby
Anthony Roth Costanzo
Violinist / Violist
Miranda Cuckson
Emi Ferguson
Coleman Itzkoff
Wayne Koestenbaum

Read the synopsis

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Musical selections (subject to change):

Benjamin Britten: Abraham and Isaac (Mr. Costanzo and Mr. Appleby)
Claudio Monteverdi: “Possente spirto” from L’Orfeo (Mr. Appleby)
Matthew Aucoin: This Earth (Mr. Costanzo)
Benjamin Britten: “Veggio co’ bei vostr’occhi…” from Michelangelo Sonnets (Mr. Appleby)
Matthew Aucoin: selections from Eurydice (Mr. Costanzo and Mr. Appleby)
J.S. Bach: “Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen” from the St. Matthew Passion (Mr. Costanzo and Mr. Appleby)
Matthew Aucoin: Tony: Ending the Life (Mr. Appleby)
Claudio Monteverdi: “Oblivion soave” from The Coronation of Poppea (Mr. Costanzo)

Featuring musicians from AMOC:
Emi Ferguson, flute
Miranda Cuckson, violin
Coleman Itzkoff, cello
Jonny Allen, percussion

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