Chance Encounter is a 35-minute site-specific musical work, co-conceived by world-renowned soprano Susan Narucki and composer Lisa Bielawa, in which Narucki and 12 instruments convene, one or several at a time, in and out of the texture and context of public spaces. The soprano's sung libretto is comprised entirely of utterances that Bielawa overheard over the course of a full year of travel, in transient public spaces around the world Rome, Taipei, Anchorage, Salzburg, Dallas and beyond. These captured phrases are organized into four song-arias: "Topos Nostalgia," "Drama/Self-Pity," "Nothing" and "Aimlessness Song., thereby enacting the listener s private (yet collective) experience of the performance space itself. The piece had its world premiere in Seward Park, on East Broadway in lower Manhattan, in 2007, and has since been presented at the Whitney Museum in New York in 2008, as part of the opening day events at the MAXXI Museum and along the Tiber River in the heart of Rome in 2010, at the Venice Architectural Biennale in 2010, and in the middle of downtown Vancouver as part of the Modulus Festival.
Bielawa is the Rome Prize winning composer and long-time member of the Philip Glass Ensemble.