A spiritually-infused decade later, how has the White Light Festival changed?

A spiritually-infused decade later, how has the White Light Festival changed?

With a compass set toward spirituality and connection, Lincoln Center’s multi-disciplinary White Light Festival has been probing the human condition for a decade. Set to run through Nov. 24, this year’s 10th anniversary season weaves together music, theater and dance to create a program of works that “embody the human capacity for love and divine devotion.”

But what has changed since the festival’s debut in 2010? According to Jane Moss, Lincoln Center’s artistic director, not much by way of concept — though the content has consistently shifted to take on new productions.

“Each edition of the festival offers an intriguing spectrum of international presentations representing different disciplines, genres and cultures,” Moss said. “That has not changed, but each festival season varies significantly from each other.”

After the folding of Lincoln Center Festival, Moss indicated plans in 2017 to expand White Light to fill a gap, and more recently, she expressed an interest in widening the scope of the festival to include written and spoken word. Still, even with the possibility of change on the horizon, the festival retains its trademark focus on inward exploration catalyzed by art — a move that, Moss posits, sets it apart from other festivals in the city.

“The White Light Festival has a very particular focus, which differs from other festivals and other series in the city,” Moss said. “That focus is on how artistic expressions illuminate the interior life of the viewer, the audience member, the reader. That through our artistic encounters, we experience broader and deeper dimensions of who we are. And in the deeper awareness of who we are, we find our connections to others and community.”

This year’s festival opened Oct. 19 with a Japanese bunraku puppet play, directed by Hiroshi Sugimoto and entitled “Sugimoto Bunraku Sonezaki Shinju: The Love Suicides at Sonezaki.” The program continues this week with the circus-infused dance piece“En Masse,” slated to debut Oct. 23.

Other highlights include Wynton Marsalis’s “The Abyssinian Mass;” “Cathedral of Sound,” performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel; and the Druid Theater Company’s production of “DruidShakespeare: Richard III.”

A full line-up of the White Light Festival can be found here.

Top Image: "En Masse," presented as part of the White Light Festival. Photo: Damien Bredberg.