Robert Ashley
The Lessons


 (1981), from Robert Ashley's PERFECT LIVES, an opera commissioned and produced for television by The Kitchen. Principal collaborators are Peter Gordon (Music Producer), John Sanborn (Video Director), Carlota Schoolman (Producer for The Kitchen) and "Blue" Gene Tyranny (Music Collaborator). PERFECT LIVES features the extraordinary keyboard inventions of "Blue" Gene Tyranny and the singing of Robert Ashley, Jill Kroesen and David Van Tieghem.

THE LESSONS was produced as a collaboration between the TV Lab at WNET/Thirteen and The Kitchen. Video effects were designed and edited by John Sanborn in collaboration with Robert Ashley, Kit Fitzgerald and Carlota Schoolman. Costumes by Jacqueline Humbert with the assistance of Mary Ashley.

In Robert Ashley's PERFECT LIVES, Buddy ("The World's Greatest Piano Player") teaches his secrets to a select few through a set of videotapes currently in the hands of Baby, an all-around spiritual seeker and wife of Rodney ("The Bartender"). These legendary tapes are documents of rare and impossible occasions at the piano ("...and how they do it no one knows"). If you can't play boogie-woogie after this half-hour, there's no hope.

THE LESSONS, variations on the theme song from Episode 3 of PERFECT LIVES, THE BANK, introduces the four prinicipal characters in cameo performances. The video and music techniques unique to the seven-episode series are presented in four seven-minute portraits of Isolde (Marie Isolde), Raoul de Noget (No-Zhay), Buddy ("The World's Greatest Piano Player") and The Captain of The Football Team ("...his parents call him Donnie").

Funding for Robert Ashley's PERFECT LIVES was provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation and The Beards Fund. Funding for The Lessons was provided in part by WNET/Thirteen TV Lab.

The broadcast format is 1-inch, color, 27:40. The VHS dub is from 1-inch dubbing master.

Created for television by Robert Ashley
Copyright _ (P) Robert Ashley, 1981