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
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
Angel’s Bone is a new work of opera-theatre that follows the plight of two angels whose nostalgia for earthly delights has, mysteriously, brought them back to our world. They are found battered and bruised from their long journey by a man and his wife. Mr. and Mrs. X.E. set out to nurse the wounded angels back to health: they bathe them, wash the dirt from their nails…then lock them in a room and decide to exploit these magical beings for wealth and personal gains. Angel’s Bone melds chamber music, theatre, punk rock, opera, cabaret, and electronics, exploring the dark effects and motivations behind modern-day slavery and the trafficking industry.
Music by Du Yun
Libretto by Royce Vavrek
Music Direction by Julian Wachner
Directed by Michael McQuilken
Mrs. X.E. – Abigail Fischer
Mr. X.E. – Kyle Pfortmiller
Girl Angel – Jennifer Charles
Boy Angel – Kyle Bielfield
World Premiere January 6, 2016 @ 3LD Art & Technology Center, during the Prototype Festival 2016
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?”