Mathis Nitschke: MAYA (2017)

As the worlds first Augmented Reality opera, MAYA staged the former heating plant Munich-Aubing as a historic site.

MAYA transcended the core of an opera into the present: intoxication, ecstasy and extension of consciousness through music, sound, light and digital art. Opera and Techno: both stand for a powerful rebellion – against death, against loneliness. For a life without limits. For the promise of a world in which we live according to our boldest imaginations, without ever encountering physical limitations.

MAYA was a game of opposites. The future stood next to the past. Materiality encountered immateriality. New compositions met pieces from Domenico Gabrielli (16th century), Steve Reich (1967) and KP Werani (2017). The string trio TrioCoriolis played live with, against and in the electronic soundscapes of Klavikon, Jörg Hüttner, Björn Eichelbaum and Rumpeln. The lighting design by Urs Schönebaum fitted like a sculpture into the room.

“Being a peanut would be great. Or a tapeworm. Or a ramshorn snail.”

Author Thomas Jonigk put the language of a human being into the mouth of Maya, who was forced to rediscover her physicality in order to survive as a digital being.

Link:

https://mathis-nitschke.com/en/maya/

Chaya Czernowin: Infinite Now (2017)

This creation commemorates World War I and takes as point of departure the play FRONT (2014) by Luk Perceval. The American-Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin saw the performance and connected the theatrical experience of FRONT with the novella Homecoming by the Chinese author Can Xue. The result of this union is music theatre about opening new perspectives in a harrowing situation.

In FRONT, we see the soldiers in the trenches, caught in an unending battle and constantly exposed to death. In Homecoming it is a woman who happens to find her way to a house on the edge of an abyss and gradually realises that it is impossible for her to escape. Two situations in which the moment becomes dilated to the point of infinity.

Premiere April 18th, 2017
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

https://operaballet.be/en/programme/2016-2017/infinite-now

http://chayaczernowin.com/
http://www.lukperceval.info/

Mathis Nitschke: VERGEHEN (2017)

Imagine that you take a walk at the river Isar in Munich. Your smartphone starts a conversation, involving you in a discourse about memories and the past. How would that sound?

It’s almost a pact: the smartphone lets us participate in the seemingly endless treasures of information and knowledge, all from a small personal companion. In return, we reveal our innermost and core, and – through touch – we practice some peculiar form of intimacy with it.

The audio walk VERGEHEN (Passing) engages with this topic from the futuristic perspective of a utopian technical promise: our experiences can be saved and replayed forever with a brain wave recorder, the memory will be indistinguishable from the original experience. So far, we had to painstakingly translate our experiences and emotions into language, art or music to be able to communicate them. With such a machine that wouldn’t be necessary anymore. Is that really something to desire? That’s one of the questions asked in VERGEHEN.

Link:

https://mathis-nitschke.com/en/vergehen/

Moritz Eggert: Freax (2017)

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
Opus/Year: 2007

Staged world premiere: January 21st, 2017, Theater Regensburg

http://www.theater-regensburg.de/spielplan/details/freax/

http://www.sikorski.de/575/en/0/a/0/opera/1035933_freax_opera.html

http://www.moritzeggert.de/

 

Michael McQuilken: JIB, or, The Child Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was (2016)

JIB is a world premier new LIVING FILM+ROCK SHOW+GHOST PLAY, by Michael McQuilken (Grand Theft Orchestra, The Few Moments) featuring new music by AMANDA PALMER & JASON WEBLEY. The Windmill Factory (NIN, Phantogram, La Louvre) will design and produce the production with OLD SOUND ROOM Performance Ensemble (Yale School of Drama borne). The work is directed by Michael McQuilken (BAM, Prototype Festival, Amanda Palmer international tour) and features an all star cast including Leah Siegel (Leisure Cruise, Firehorse) playing the title role of JIB.

This truly multimedia work explores the interconnectedness of inspiration and the unseen forces which guide our lives through the rise and fall of singer/songwriter JIB. The audience is immersed in JIB’s world and quickly become part of the action. The premiere of JIB was crowd funded on Kickstarter with more than 602 backers pre-buying the new album, film, and tickets to the show.

Written and Directed by: Michael McQuilken, with additional text developed by the company
Cinematography by: Anne Cecelia Haney
Produced by: The Windmill Factory & Old Sound Room
​Design Leads: Maruti Evans & Nicholas Pope
Design Team: Jon Morris, Michael McQuilken, Zack McKenna, Stephanie di Bona, Laura Clarke
Music by: Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley, The Few Moments, and Firehorse
Cast: Brenden Titley, Daniel Reece, Jillian Taylor, Joe Trombino, Jon Morris, Laura Gragtmans, Leah Siegel

Websites: https://www.michaeljosephmcquilken.com, https://www.oldsoundroom.com/jib

Ellen Pearlman / Taras Mashtalir: Noor – Brain Opera (2016)

Noor is the world’s first interactive immersive brain opera in a 360-degree theater. A performer’s emotions launch databanks of video, a sonic environment, and a libretto as the audience watches her brainwaves livetime. Based on the true story of Noor Inayat Khan, a Russian born, European raised Sufi Muslim Princess whose father Hazrat Inayat Khan brought Sufism to the West. During WW II she became a covert wireless operator for British Intelligence by parachuting deep inside occupied Vichy ruled France. For a period of three months Noor (code name “Nora”) was the only communications link transmitting critical information back to the Allies. Caught by the Gestapo, who were unable to break her to find out any information about her transmission cell, Noor was shot inside the infamous Dachau prison shortly before the end of the war. Noor is a metaphor for issues of surveillance, privacy and consciousness.

Links:

https://epmexico.wixsite.com/ellenpearlman

https://www.facebook.com/noorabrainopera/

https://thetheatretimes.com/ellen-pearlman-brain-opera-telematic-performance-and-decoding-dreams/

Brandt Brauer Frick: Gianni (2016)

Martin Butler and Brandt Brauer Frick developed an abstract narrative that sees the cross-section of opera, modern dance, electronic music and fashion. The death of Gianni Versace is at the epicentre, portrayed through the decadent style of 1980s vogueing culture.

The themes are desire and adoration, the promise of youth and beauty, the trappings of power and riches and auguries of unlimited sexual potency. Fashion can be defined as the presentation of the individual in an everyday setting, a presentation in which semblance merges with reality. It is also the international world of runways and supermodels. A designer will be hailed as the high priest of this world if he can promise to fulfil an existential expectation of happiness and do so in a way that appeals to the spirit of the times. Gianni Versace was one such high priest, yet there have been few other cases of star designers where such a meteoric rise has been followed by such an abrupt and tragic end. His path from Calabrian tailor and buyer of fabrics to fashion empire mogul ended with his murder by male prostitute and serial killer Andrew Cunanan outside Versace’s villa on Ocean Drive, Miami.

Director: Martin Butler
Music: Brandt Brauer Frick & Matthias Engler
Set & Video Design: Shan Blume
Costume Design: And Beyond
Dramaturge: Sebastian Hanusa
Choreographer: Susanne Marx

Pythia: Claron McFadden
Medusa/John: Alexander Geist
House Mother: Amber Vineyard
Andrew: Seth Carcio
Dancers & Extras: Alexander Mugler, Fredrik Quinones, Tarren Johnson
Boiler Room broadcast directed by Robert Sieg.

https://boilerroom.tv/recording/gianni-opera-brandt-brauer-frick/

https://www.deutscheoperberlin.de/en_EN/calendar/production/gianni.1082531

Anne Imhof: Angst II (2016)

Angst is an opera in three acts that stretch temporally and spatially over three stations: Kunsthalle Basel, Berlin’s Nationalgalerie – Hamburger Bahnhof and La Biennale de Montréal are presenting three exhibitions with the work of Anne Imhof in 2016 that, like three acts, are linked to one another. A first act was presented by the artist in June 2016 at Kunsthalle Basel. Angst II in Berlin forms the climax and turning point of this work complex. Anne Imhof will conclude the series of works with a third part that she will develop for La Biennale de Montréal. At Hamburger Bahnhof, the artist will present a pictorial composition for a limited time for ten days, consisting of music, text, sculptural elements and actors, falcons, and controlled drones that will form an overall picture.

Angst II divides the historic hall of Hamburger Bahnhof with a tightrope and a dense fog makes the architecture blur. The music of the piece embraces the entire exhibition space and subjects the painting to its own rhythm. While in the act at Kunsthalle Basel songs appeared as arias in a rather temporal order and the march, waltz, and ballad took on a role, the musical composition at Hamburger Bahnhof is played over individual systems. These spatial sound elements evoke memories of the stage set up of a rock concert or the house PA system. The pieces of music in Angst II were written especially for this act and support the work sometimes in a violently surrealist, comical way, sometimes very quietly. The compositions are primarily written for chorus, yet they are not sung by voices. They are segmented in their single tracks, played using the mobile telephones of the dancers, their sound is amplified by microphones that the dancers wear, and combine through the movements of the actors to form an orchestral whole. A tightrope walker crosses the semi-dark space like a clock that ticks and provides the pulse of the piece.

http://www.smb.museum/en/exhibitions/detail/anne-imhof-angst-ii.html

Moritz von Oswald: Black Mountain (2016)

BLACK MOUNTAIN
A new interpretation of Wagner’s Parsifal
by LAWBF, Moritz von Oswald and Jan Engel
An Audi Zeitgeist Project

Nicholas Mockridge, from the artists collective known as “Like a Wild Beast’s Fur,” directed Black Mountain – a short, experimental film based on Parsifal – condensed onto ten minutes.

Said Mockbridge of the film and its “Techno” soundtrack: “Basically, he (Wagner) invented film music, in a way. These are really simple chord progressions that narrate the story, and we took these chord progressions together with Moritz von Oswald, who created a techno soundtrack with them,”

Discussing the short film its Kundry, Canadian electronic musician and performance artist, “Peaches” said:

“It’s just really difficult because of the whole opera style. So it’s more like a pastiche – or just like fragments of an opera – but I guess it relates to the future; how our attention span is quite short and our technology is quite vast.”

https://www.audi-city.com/berlin/blackmountain/

Rob Zuidam: Uwe Leipe Mastdramnis (2016)

At dusk an old shabby woman scraps around a massive pile of junk, in which she has gathered all her possessions and memories. She lights a candle, is confused, and mumbles. She endlessly arranges and rearranges her rubbish. Gradually, from under all her junk a bed becomes visible. It is her deathbed upon which she lays down after some delay. Wearily moaning, groaning and faltering. She starts to sing. At first with some hesitation, but increasingly with more pathos and ardour she brings a glowing and moving farewell to life. Once her aria is completed, she blows out the candle and rises to heaven. From afar we continue to hear her sing softly.

In Uwe Leipe Mastdrammis there is no text, not in the sense of a coherent language. The woman has no command of the language (anymore). The language used is fictitious and merely focused on sound and expression, using the voice in every conceivable form. Uwe Leipe Mastdrammis presents a portrait of a soul in the transition from life to death.

The staging is by Jeroen De Man (De Warme Winkel) with whom NAP has collaborated before in Anais Nin from Louis Andriessen.

Composer: Rob Zuidam
Mezzo-soprano: Gerrie de Vries
Stage-director: Jeroen De Man
Set-design: Arjen de Leeuw
Introduction: Connie Palmen
Première: 19 mei 2016

http://www.uk.nieuwamsterdamspeil.com/uwe-leipe-mastdramnis/