Ultima
Det Norske Solistkor
Grete Pedersen
Julia Wolfe

Fire in my mouth

Oslo Concert Hall Select date: Buy ticket

Fire in my mouth

Julia Wolfe’s oratory Fire in my mouth is based on one of the largest tragedies in New York’s history: a factory fire in which 146 garment workers died. Grete Pedersen conducts the Oslo Philharmonic, The Norwegian Soloist Choir and the Norwegian Girl Choir. 

The Brown Building was built in 1901 and is today a part of the New York University campus, where the American composer Julia Wolfe (b. 1958) teaches. In 1911, the building was the scene of one of the worst tragedies in the city’s history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

The fire is the starting point for the oratory Fire in my mouth: “In Fire in my mouth, I weave together fragments of oral history, clanking factory sounds, Yiddish and Italian folk songs, protests, and stories of loss and grief,” Wolfe wrote at the premiere in 2019.

One hundred forty-six workers lost their lives in the factory fire - most of them were young immigrant women, either East European Jews or Italians. The safety in the garment factory was abysmal, and the fire set off large demonstrations and, eventually, new laws regarding safety measures at the workplace.

“I was fascinated by the young women who led the fight for reforms - Clara Lemlich, Rose Schneiderman, and others, who endured extreme challenges,“ Wolfe writes. The title is from an interview with Clara Lemlich about her years of activism: “Ah, then I had fire in my mouth.”

The first movement, Immigration, describes the tension and excitement over a new life in a new country. In Factory, Wolfe mixes folk tunes with the sound of sewing machines. Protest uses the employees' own words from the demonstrations. Fire combines dramatic news reports with the desperate cries of the victims.

Produced by Bang on a Can

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  • Julia Wolfe Fire in my mouth

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Adult 440 NOK
Senior 440 NOK
Student 220 NOK
Child 150 NOK

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Ultima
Det Norske Solistkor
Grete Pedersen
Julia Wolfe

Oslo Concert Hall Select date: Buy ticket