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Robert Ashley$
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Kyle Gann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252035494

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252035494.001.0001

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If You Have to Ask You Can’t Afford One

If You Have to Ask You Can’t Afford One

Now Eleanor’s Idea

(p.87) 7 If You Have to Ask You Can’t Afford One
Robert Ashley

Kyle Gann

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details Now Eleanor's Idea (1985–94). The five-and-a-half-hour tetralogy represents the conclusion of the American adventure, of Ashley's “history of our consciousness as Americans.” Now Eleanor's Idea, with its four symmetrical parts, embodies the great coming together in the Los Angeles of the future, with fragmented identities that need to be reconstituted. The tetralogy could be called Ashley's magnum opus, a mammoth continuum. Its operas—Improvement: Don Leaves Linda, eL/Aficionado, Foreign Experiences, and (the “title opera”) Now Eleanor's Idea—are clearly differentiated by style and density, and the chapter elaborates on each of these in turn. The chapter also introduces two more members of Ashley's ensemble: singer Joan La Barbara and recording engineer Tom Hamilton.

Keywords:   Now Eleanor's Idea, tetralogy, American adventure, Los Angeles, magnum opus, eL/Aficionado, Foreign Experiences, Joan La Barbara, Tom Hamilton, operas

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