Wold crafts music whose delicate beauty glides in just below the listener's critical consciousness. - San Francisco Chronicle. Brilliance characterize[s] every facet... - Bay Area Reporter In the late forties, William Burroughs moved to Mexico City to avoid an 'unpromising' court date for heroin and marijuana possession. The city was tremendously corrupt, cheap to live in and tolerant, although not necessarily accepting, of Burroughs' indiscretions: his heroin addiction and his homosexual desire. His autobiographical novel Queer, set against this backdrop, tells the story of William Lee's desperate romantic and sexual yearnings for an indifferent young man named Eugene Allerton, another expatriate American. Although their relationship is consummated, Allerton is never possessed, and Lee's attentions are increasingly sad, embarrassing and pathetic. Burroughs' writing is revealing: he succeeds in uncovering his soul, in expressing his longings in a way that immediately resonates with his audience. In the end, after convincing Allerton to come away with him on a search for the magical drug Yage, the story trails off. As Burroughs puts it: '...Lee has reached the end of his line, an end implicit in the beginning. He is left with the impact of unbridgeable distances, the defeat and weariness of a long, painful journey made for nothing, wrong turnings, the track lost, a bus waiting in the rain...' Because of it's straightforward and honest portrayal of his homosexuality, the book was unpublished for thirty years after it was written, even though Burroughs' fame increased dramatically during that time. The comical fantasy routines in the book, told as stories by Lee in his attempts to entertain and engage Allerton, foreshadow those which eventually come to dominate Burroughs' later works such as Naked Lunch, in which the audience for the routines is no longer real, but one which has become internalized. In the operatic version of this story, Lee is both the narrator and the main character. Lee is the emotional member of the pair: he sings while Allerton only speaks. There are a few incidental characters, but the piece focuses primarily on Lee alone and on the two main characters together. Bay Area Reporter: Brilliance characterized every facet of Erling Wold's Queer on opening night (April 11) at ODC Theater in the Mission. From conception through execution, the chamber opera based on the William Burroughs novel more than did justice to Burroughs' spirit. It rekindled that spirit vividly for the audience, a sophisticated crowd that paid rapt attention to every nuance of inflection and expression from orchestra and actors alike. Truly the night belonged to composer Wold, whose latest work follows previous chamber operas A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil (1993-94) and Sub Pontio Pilato (1995-98) and a host of recordings, chamber pieces, and New Music-style electronic experiments. The concept of turning a classic of queer literature into a post-postmodern chamber piece, complete with on-stage orchestra and what amounts to a singing William Burroughs, dares to be taken seriously. In lesser hands, it could have turned Burroughs' dry humor and desperate longings into farce. But the combined talents of Wold, stage director Jim Cave, dramaturgist John Morace, conductor Deirdre McClure, choreographer Cid Pearlman, lighting designer Clyde Sheets, and costume designer Hank Ford, together with a stellar cast, orchestra, and crew, skillfully brought life to Wold's idea, turning Queer into an exceptionally well-rehearsed, well-executed, inspiring work of high art. Wold's composition for trumpet, guitar, piano, synthesizer, violin and contrabass, flawlessly executed by an orchestra including Wold on guitar, creates an atmospheric, classically-based soundscape reminiscent of works by Philip Glass, David Del Tredici, and Ned Rorem; aptly, the Village Voice once described Wold as 'the Eric Satie of Berkeley surrealist/minimalist electro-artrock.' Here, minimalism and melody go hand in hand, with lovely passages, including suggestions of Mexican mariachi music, offset by sections more mood-setting than melodic. The various passages cohere into a gorgeous tapestry, as intricate as any woven textile. Trauma a joy Part of Queer's appeal is it's marriage of modern music with a text dear to the hearts of queer literati. It would have been easy to parody Burroughs using his own words. Fortunately, the caustically funny Burroughs temperament came across dazzlingly in the characterization of William Lee, Burroughs' alter ego, by Trauma Flintstone, who turned in a bravura performance. Flintstone was a joy to experience as Lee, singing passages and tearing across the stage in hot pursuit of his love object. About Erling Wold: Erling Wold is a composer, aesthete and a bon vivant. Last year saw the premiere of two large works, his Missa Beati Notkeri Balbuli Sancti Galli Monachi in St Gallen, Switzerland, and his solo opera Mordake for tenor John Duykers in the San Francisco International Arts Festival. He completed a noise-music collaboration this year with fognozzle for electronics and orchestra which premiered in San Francisco. He is cofounder and executive director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, which has just completed it's seventh season of new orchestral works. He is working on a personal autobiographical theater piece detailing his corruption and death with the help of James Bisso, as well as a series of pieces for the Denisova-Kornienko duo in Vienna. His dance opera Blinde Liebe, on a true crime story, was recently performed in Europe and the US with Palindrome Dance of Nürnberg Germany. His chamber works have been presented in Philadelphia by Relâche, in San Francisco and Santa Cruz by New Music Works, and by the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble. He completed a residency at ODC Theater with a presentation of his opera Sub Pontio Pilato, an historical fantasy on the death and remembrance of Pontius Pilate (also performed in Austria), a chamber opera based on William Burroughs' early autobiographical novel Queer, and his critically acclaimed work A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, based on the Max Ernst collage novel. The latter piece was given it's European premiere in a German version by the Klagenfurter Ensemble in 2001 and toured to Max Ernst's hometown of Brühl. He has written a number of solo piano works, including Albrechts Flügel, premiered by Finnish pianist Marja Mutru and more recently Veracity, which he premiered. He has worked extensively with dancers in the US and Europe. He has written a number of pieces for a dancer-controlled interactive video and music system for Palindrome dance. He has also worked with Nesting Dolls in Los Angeles and San Francisco on several theater and dance projects, including 13 Versions of Surrender and I brought my hips to the table. Most recently he has co-composed the scores for several Deborah Slater Dance Theater projects with fixed-media sound artist Thom Blum. He is an eclectic composer whose teachers include Gerard Grisey, Robert Gross, Andrew Imbrie and John Chowning, but who has also been called 'the Eric Satie of Berkeley surrealist/minimalist electro-artrock' by the Village Voice. He composed the soundtracks for four Jon Jost films. There are a number of CD and DVD releases of his music, and a DVD series is planned by MinMax over the next year. He was included in the first magazine/CD issue of the Leonardo Music Journal, and he has had a number of works published by Tellus and the Just Intonation Network. He has published technical and artistic articles in several publications, including IEEE MultiMedia, Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, SIGGRAPH, the Just Intonation Journal 1/1, IEEE Transactions on Computers and several books. He has six patents in musical signal processing. He holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and was a researcher in signal processing and music synthesis at Yamaha Music Technologies before cofounding Muscle Fish LLC, an audio and music software company.