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"Aletheia" brings unique play to ASU School of Music

Trombone and opera combine for a performance "like you've never seen before"

"What's a cage without a little music?" Illustration published on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017.

The ASU School of Music will be hosting a performance of a piece entitled “Aletheia,” Thursday night, which combines a variety of musical elements all in one cage. 

Aletheia is one of several Ancient Greek words for truth and means “creating a space where truth can appear.” It is also the title for the upcoming performance by Abbie Conant and Will Osborne.

Conant and Osborne, who are married, have been working together for over 40 years and have spent the last ten years creating "Aletheia." The two say it is their best work so far.

The piece represents “an artist searching for truth and transcendence in spite of human limitation,” Osborne said.

"Aletheia" features Conant on stage by herself in a metal cage. Throughout the hour-long performance she will perform a monologue, play the trombone and sing opera. 

The performance shows the struggle of the protagonist Aletheia, played by Conant, as she prepares to sing opera at a gala beneath her window. As she looks down at the gala she reflects how it is for the rich and wonders if they would notice her absence if she never shows up.

She discusses with herself the meaning of music and tries to find why she doesn't have the will to go to the party.

The influences of the play range from the isolated life of Emily Dickinson to the philosophies of Martin Heidegger.  Even Conant's own life and past experiences have influenced the production of the piece, she said.

“I let the piece overcome me,” she said. “I let the character embody me.”

The duo's website said they have a set of 13 goals they aim for in their productions, including “giving music, text and acting all equal importance."  This piece has achieved more of these goals than any of their other works, Osborne said.

Osborne said the play went through many stages of development, took in a wide range of influence and is a "culmination of over 40 years of work."

Brad Edwards,  a trombone professor with the ASU School of Music, said the performance is much more than just a trombone recital. 

“Abbie presents a unique performance that takes in all the factors,” he said.

"It's like nothing you’ve ever seen before," Edwards said. 

The performance will be presented at Katzin Concert Hall on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets cost only $5.

Reach the reporter at or follow @AndrewMcKenney  on Twitter. 

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