In the artificially cut-off world of a show conceived as a mixture of circus and television entertainment which thrills its audience with so-called freax, people whose bodies do not correspond to the norm, a tragic love story unfolds. The dwarf Franz loves the tall, beautiful Isabella. But she is in love with Hilbert, the moderator of the show. Hilbert, for his part, loves great success. This is guaranteed by the freax – dwarfs, Siamese twins and hermaphrodites – who, not least due to their success with the public, are cut off and humiliated by their “normal” colleagues.
In a mixture of moving drama and biting satire, Franz‘ blind love and longing to escape permanent discrimination and to be accepted and loved as a man becomes a parable about the power of looks and about the fine line between hope and self-deception, closeness and betrayal.
Composer: Moritz Eggert
Lyricists: Hannah Dübgen
Staged world premiere: January 21st, 2017, Theater Regensburg
The AquaSonic underwater concert by Between Music, takes the audience on a unique and fascinating voyage into uncharted territory. Equipped with custom-made underwater instruments four musicians and singers submerge themselves completely in water in each their man-sized water tank. From the watery depths they deliver visual performance, art installation and concert in one; from silent warm waves of euphony to ocean-like deep rumbling, and roaring soundscapes of another world.
The groundbreaking work of getting a four piece band to play and perform under water highlights the deeply passionate and slightly mad inventor mindset that drives Between Music. The creation of the work has required years of experimentation and countless test-runs in close collaboration with everything from dedicated deep-sea divers to imaginative instrument makers and brilliant scientists -people driven by the same urge to break new ground and challenge existing worldviews. This has led to the development of a number of highly peculiar underwater instruments such as hydraulophone, violin, electromagnetic harp, chimes and percussion, as well as a distinctive vocal technique for underwater singing. The result is a concert experience out of the ordinary; a deep dive into a compelling visual universe and a new world of sound. It is organic, raw, aesthetic – and deeply original. AquaSonic is brimming with curiosity and fascination with the unknown that permeates the water tanks and waves in over the audience.
composition & play: Laila Skovmand
performance: Robert Karlsson, Morten Poulsen, Dea Maria Kjeldsen, Nanna Bech
light design: Adalsteinn Stefansson
sound design: Anders Boll
production: Between Music, FuturePerfect Productions
May 27th-29th, 2016, Opera Days Rotterdam
Imagine getting in a car without knowing the destination. Sharing the car are singers, actors, and instrumentalists who draw you into a story. The car stops at an incredible site, where another chapter of the story commences – until another car pulls up, with different artists, depicting another chapter of the story.
And so on, and so on, in a 90-minute journey throughout the unsuspecting city.
Robot Opera (2015), is a robotic opera for eight semi-autonomous robot performers. The work has been realised by Wade Marynowsky (robotic artist) in collaboration with Julian Knowles (music/sound) and Branch Nebula (lighting, dramaturgy). Informed by the underlying fields of creative robotics, mediatised performance, music, and interactive media art, the project merges artist driven algorithmic / choreographic concepts with audience driven agency within a large scale performance interaction space 42 x 25m. The project brings together core areas of investigation within these disciplines by establishing a performative context to explore the concept of robotic performance agency.
The project fast forwards the Wagnerian concept of (Gesamtkunstwerk) ‘The Total Art Work’ (1895) into the present, through combinations of movement, sound, light and interaction. Whilst futuristic, Robot Opera draws on a multitude of historic reference points, visually the work embraces minimalist sculpture and the machine aesthetic. Julian Knowles’ musical score interrogates the notion of opera with reference to the history of science fiction film soundtrack, the sonic language of robots in popular culture and the aesthetics of digital sound. Whilst in the context of performance art we acknowledge the tradition of breaking the fourth wall: Alan Kaprow; La Fura Del Baus etc. Importantly, the work also draws on the traditions of electronic music, sound art, media art and performance art cultures experienced personally from the 1990’s.
Robot Opera seeks to rethink what opera and performance is, or can be. By placing non-anthropomorphic robots in place of human performers we question, at what stage or within which contexts can a robot be perceived to ‘perform’ convincing agency?
“I can’t even seem to remember what my project was. I don’t remember what I was trying to investigate or what my research questions were. At the moment, I totally lack interest in it. Some composers and artists never get tired of revising and documenting and promoting and re-performing old works. I just feel dirty when I think about it. After every little premiere I always try to forget what happened. The project “The Norwegian Opra” did have some kind of power when it was still alive, I guess, and the performances and the intense production periods had their own and logic, but I failed to do much reflection underway. It is not a project suited to any critical reflecting. It was all very un-intellectual. I must have been at my intellectual low point during these years. It was more some kind of sustained panic action. Maybe it was a kind of illness more than an academic art project. Now I only have a strong feeling of shame and disgust and that is probably an impossible point of departure for a reflection on the work. I even have put myself in a situation where I have to write in English2, which is a language I have no feeling for. I already sense that each sentence is too short and the rhythm becomes primitive and rigid. It is a poor man’s Hemingway. It is the language of capitalism, imperialism and pop music. I hate the sound and the looks of English. How can anyone reflect about anything in such a language – the Mördersprache of today’s world?”
Modelo62 Ensemble led by the Spanish Jorge Lopez Garcia, with the support of Spanish Cultural Action AC / E, returns to Buenos Aires to stage a chamber opera The newly created Real Lemon in the prestigious Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. A work in which the relationship of the musicians with the project is not merely the execution of the score but extends to the creative field, contributing to the gestation and development of sound material. Real Lemon is a chamber opera composed by Ezequiel Menalled, which stems from an order of CETC – Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. The libretto of The Lemon Real Fernando Regueira, is based on the novel by Juan José Saer, of the same title.
The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence have co-commissioned composer Jonathan Dove to write an opera scored for professional musicians with amateur singers (children and adults) and young pre-professional instrumentalists drawn from our local communities.
The idea for the co-commission was led by Sir Simon Rattle and Simon Halsey and the project is designed to celebrate the arts organisation’s relationship with its community. The piece is designed to work within the parameters of a concert hall, however each production will be very different in each country, with each co-commissioner producing its own production in its own language and with its own unique staging and vision.
For the opera, composer Jonathan Dove and his regular librettist Alasdair Middleton sought a universal topic which can be told by a large group of children, and which would not require elaborate scenery. They decided on the ancient Greek story which tells of the rescue from the Labyrinth, by Theseus, of young Athenians sent to Crete as a sacrifice to the Minotaur.
The piece is scored for three professional soloists and a professional actor, adult community chorus, youth chorus, children’s chorus, and an orchestra of professional players playing alongside young or pre-professional players.
Composed by Jonathan Dove
Musical direction Sir Simon Rattle
Stage direction Marie-Ève Signeyrole
Stage design Fabien Teigné
London Symphony Orchestra and Mediterranean Youth Orchestra
Production / Coproduction
Commissioned by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra
VIOLA is a short opera installation in public space. The audience is sitting inside a pharmacy and looks through the shop windows, watching the train station square. There sings in monologue Viola, a confused and sad woman, disillusioned, lost. The voice of singer Martina Koppelstetter is transmitted through a wireless microphone onto transducers: devices which convert the big glass panes of the shop windows into loudspeakers, creating a sounding membrane between the inside and the outside. She sings mostly for herself, then she refers from time to time to (real or virtual) pedestrians, later also to the audience. Finally she disappears in anonymity again. Only loneliness remains.
“We established an ‘electrozone’ where various artistic endeavors will take place — music, fine arts, events involving contemporary literature, and an educational program. This is a space that will be openly accessible to the city. You can come here in the morning and grab a cup of coffee in our foyer. But it is not merely a place to spend your free time. It is a place where we want people to put an effort into contemplating contemporary culture.” says Boris Yukhananov, artistic director of the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow.
The video above is a collaborative work under the leadership of Sergej Newski with Boris Filanovsky, Dmitri Kourliandski, Vladimir Rannev, Alexey Sysoev und Alexei Sioumak, that comprises in total five evening filling works. Based on a text by Boris Yukhananov who also directed the productions.
With The Book of Sand composer Michel van der Aa has invented a completely new genre: the digital, interactive song cycle. Created in partnership with the Holland Festival, Sydney Festival, Google Cultural Institute, BBC The Space and other partners, and created exclusively in digital format, The Book of Sand was launched on 31st May as a website and smartphone app.
Inspired by the allusions to infinity and the use of mazes and mirrors in the fantastical stories of Jorge Luis Borges, Van der Aa puts you in a space where all places in the world exist simultaneously. A young woman (played by the Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke) collects up sand which is being moved between the film layers by a mysterious machine. Three parallel film layers reveal alternative points of view and introduce new elements to the story, which allows you to choose a new route through the narrative at any point.