ENO presents the UK premiere of River of Fundament. This radical reinvention of Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings is an epic story of regeneration and rebirth, set in three major American cities – Los Angeles, Detroit and New York. A collaboration between visual artist Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler, the film was conceived as a contemporary opera that combines traditional modes of narrative cinema with filmed elements of performance and sculpture. Barney reconstructs Mailer’s hypersexual story of Egyptian gods and the seven stages of reincarnation alongside the rise and fall of the American car industry.
River of Fundament features a notable and diverse cast, including actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Strich and Ellen Burstyn. An eclectic group of musicians include avant-garde vocalist Joan La Barbara, percussionist Milford Graves, and baritones Eugene and Herbert Perry. In addition, the film features characters from Barney and Bepler’s previous collaboration Cremaster 3, including characters played by Barney and Aimee Mullins.
ENO is proud to collaborate with the Whitechapel Gallery who will present The Cremaster Cycle on Saturday 28 June as part of a celebration of Matthew Barney's work. Find out more and book tickets.
River of Fundament will be presented in the auditorium of the London Coliseum as part of an international tour of theatres and opera houses, and offers a rare opportunity to experience Barney’s unique vision and boundless visual imagination.
Running time: 6hrs (including 2 intervals)
Pre-performance talk: Sun 29 Jun – Matthew Barney in conversation with Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor.
River of Fundament is presented worldwide on behalf of the artist by Manchester International Festival.
Advisory warning: Suitable for adult audiences only. Contains scenes of nudity and sexual imagery which some audiences may find disturbing.
River of Fundament creative team
A film by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler
Written and Directed by Matthew Barney
Music Composed and Directed by Jonathan Bepler
Produced by Matthew Barney and Laurenz Foundation