Judith Egger: Bardo (2012)

“Mystic, enigmatic and visually stunning: This is how Judith Egger’s performance “Bardo” can be described. Circling around states of the in-between and of transition, the term “bardo” refers to the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol: “Liberation Through Hearing During The Intermediate State”), a collection of Buddhist sutras from the 8th century. The text focuses on the interval between death and rebirth in which different states of consciousness are achieved. These “gaps” or phases of uncertainty can not only be experienced after death but are an essential part of life itself.
Judith Egger establishes three-dimensional miniature settings in her oral cavity – a sensitive place between inside and outside where not only breath and sound leave the body, but communication is generated. The open mouth becomes a stage, a theater revealing various scenes. These will be accompanied live by Munich-based composer and musician Axel Nitz and transferred onto the big screen by cinematographer Maria Rilz. Thereby, sounds from the interior of the artist’s mouth will be integrated into the performance.
Although the miniature architectures placed inside Judith Egger’s oral cavity appear to be deserted and rather static, the flickering of a TV set in a living room and the sushi conveyor belt at a restaurant show some movement. The foaming froth inside a cave refuses stagnation as much as the sparkling water of a fountain symbolizes the circle of life. The artist creates moments of contemplation and tranquility through different scenes anticipating change at the same time. What happens beyond these intermediate spaces remains uncertain.”
Text by Nadine Seligmann


Paul Oomen: Nikola (2012)

Nikola is an opera specially created in 4DSOUND by composer Paul Oomen, inspired on the life and work of the genial inventor Nikola Tesla. The opera Nikola emerges from within the audience, where singers performing in the midst of the crowd. The theatre is turned into a nightclub hosting the opera as part of a night-long techno party.



Zoe Scoglio: Shifting Ground (2012)

Lava to rock, fossil to fuel – Shifting Ground is a performance and installation that draws parallels between geological transformations and those found within the human race. Media artist and performer Zoe Scoglio unites object manipulation, physicalised sounds and interactive projection mapping and ceremonial participation in a journey from the cosmic to the concrete. The boundaries between human and rock melt away, as the presence of the earth’s minerals is revealed in the structures we create, the tools we use, and the bodies in which we live. Shifting Ground looks at our ever-changing relationship to geological substances, exploring the idea that all forms are temporal and metamorphic. In a society defined by its seemingly solid and indestructible cities, Shifting Ground aims to reminds us of the impermanent and fleeting nature of our time on this earth, and our symbiotic relationship with the elements that form it.


Missy Mazzoli: Song from the Uproar (2012)

A multimedia opera that combines live musical performance and original film, this compelling new work was inspired by the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), one of the most remarkable women of her era. At the age of 20, she left her life in Switzerland behind for an unfettered existence in the North African desert.

Hailed by The New York Times as “a visually and aurally ravishing chamber opera…a captivating multimedia spectacle,” Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar immerses the audience in the surreal landscapes of Isabelle Eberhardt’ life: the loss of her family, the thrill of her arrival in Africa and the mystery of her demise.


Streetwise Opera’s Fables: A Film Opera (2010)

Streetwise Opera’s Fables – A Film Opera is a set of four short film operas created by composers and filmmakers working with 144 performers who have experienced homelessness and a small professional cast.

Composers Mira Calix, Orlando Gough, Emily Hall and Paul Sartin/Andy Mellon worked with filmmakers Flat-e, Gaelle Denis, Iain Finlay and Tom Marshall and each chose a different fable – the traditional (The Boy Who Cried Wolf), the literary (Oscar Wilde’s Nightingale and the Rose), the local legend (The Hartlepool Monkey) and the contemporary (Shinichi Hoshi’s Hey Come on Out).

Streetwise Opera’s 2010 production was our second venture into film and live performance following the incredible success of My Secret Heart. Fables – A Film Opera is a collection of short, seven minute film operas, each created by our Streetwise Opera performers working with some of the most exciting composers and filmmakers in the UK.

Following its premiere at Shoreditch Church as part of Spitalfields Winter Festival, Fables toured as stand-alone films and as integrated film and live opera events in 2011 and 2012 to festivals and venues including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Latitude, BFI Southbank, Tête à Tête: the Opera Festival, Chelthenham Music Festival, Branchage Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and the Old Vic Vaults Festival.


Tod Machover: Death and the Powers (2010)

Death and the Powers: A Robot Pageant is a new opera by composer Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab, in collaboration with the American Repertory Theater. It is a one-act, full evening work that tells the story of Simon Powers, a successful and powerful businessman and inventor, who wants to go beyond the bounds of humanity. Reaching the end of his life, Powers faces the question of his legacy: “When I die, what remains? What will I leave behind? What can I control? What can I perpetuate?” He is now conducting the last experiment of his life, passing from one form of existence to another in an effort to project himself into the future. Whether or not he is actually alive is a question. Simon Powers is himself now a System. His family, friends and associates must decide what this means, how it affects them, and whether to follow. New performance technologies for Death and the Powers are being developed at the MIT Media Lab, including a new technique of Disembodied Performance to translate Simon’s offstage performance into an expressively animated stage. Other novel “instruments” include a Musical Chandelier and a chorus of robots.

LIBRETTIST: Robert Pinsky
STORY: Randy Weiner, Robert Pinsky
DIRECTOR: Diane Paulus
CHOREOGRAPHER: Karole Armitage

World premiere: 24th September 2010, Salle Garnier Monte-Carlo
United States premieres with the American Repertory Theater in Boston and at Chicago Opera Theater (March and April 2011).


The Knife: Tomorrow, in a year (2009)

The world seen through the eyes of Charles Darwin forms the basis for the performance Tomorrow, in a year. Theatre production company Hotel Pro Forma’s striking visuals blend with pop-duo The Knife’s ground-breaking music to create a new species of electro-opera.

An opera singer, a pop singer and an actor perform The Knife’s music and represent Darwin, time and nature on stage. Six dancers form the raw material of life. Together with the newest technology in light and sound, our image of the world as a place of incredible variation, similarity and unity is re-discovered.

The opera-genre provides the DNA, the framework of the performance. It is written for three singers of different backgrounds: popular music, classical opera and the performing arts. They are the narrators and the main characters in the performance. The singers tell about Darwin and they observe time and nature as Darwin.


Premiere on 2 September 2009 at Old Stage, Royal Danish Theatre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Mezzosoprano Kristina Wahlin
Singer/actor Lærke Winther
Singer Jonathan Johansson
Dancers Lisbeth Sonne Andersen, Agnete Beierholm, Alexandre Bourdat, Bo Madvig, Jacob Stage, Jan Strøbech

Direction Ralf Richardt Strøbech and Kirsten Dehlholm
Music The Knife
Musical collaborators Mt. Sims, Planningtorock
Libretto The Knife, Mt. Sims, Charles Darwin
Set design Ralf Richardt Strøbech
Light design Jesper Kongshaug
Sound design Anders Jørgensen
Costumes Maja Ravn, Kirsten Dehlholm

Production Hotel Pro Forma



Louis Andriessen: La Commedia (2008)

Louis Andriessen’s latest music-theatre work, a collaboration with film director Hal Hartley, is based principally on Dante’s Commedia. The non-linear narration unfolds in five stadia that also show the influence of Hieronymus Bosch. The simultaneous existence of heaven, purgatory and hell, parallels between various scenes and the use of film and stage effects all create the complexity that is necessary to do justice to Dante’s greatest creation. To this end, all events portrayed on the film screen and on stage, including dance, the spoken word and song, should be regarded as a reaction to Andriessens’ extremely varied music. At the end of the piece we are left alone in the silence of eternity with Beatrice and the perennial grumbler Cacciaguida.



Huba de Graaff: Lautsprecher Arnolt (2004)

In her opera Lautsprecher Arnolt (2004) Huba de Graaff decided to have most roles played by loudspeakers. Only the main character—the writer, Arnolt Bronnen (1895-1959)—is played by a human actor, Marien Jongewaard. Arnolt himself is literally a  “loud speaker”, screaming and provoking the kinetic loudspeaker sculptures.

The music theatre work Lautsprecher Arnolt (2004) presents the story of Arnolt Bronnen, a historical figure. Bronnen had a crazy life in a crazy time period: he was a playwriter, he became severely injured in World War I, he was a friend of Bertolt Brecht and of Joseph Goebbels, he married Goebbels lover, the actress Olga; he was a Nazi, but joined the resistance at the end of World War II, he became a communist, and in the end he moved to East Berlin.
Lautsprecher Arnolt is a co-creation. Huba de Graaff (NL) is the composer and the creator of its main concepts, such as the role of the loudspeakers, which is a recurring theme in her oeuvre. Loudspeakers are not neutral, invisible entities in De Graaff’s work, but hilarious theatrical personae, or otherwise prominently present. In Lautsprecher Arnolt, the stage is overcrowded with all kinds of loudspeakers. Some loudspeakers are like singing puppets, which move independently or are manipulated by the only human actor (Marien Jongewaard), seemingly in a dialogue. The loudspeakers are also material entities, funny looking, inventive objects, but also obstacles that stand in the way and are thrown around.
The loudspeakers emit a multitude of voices, sounds and musical styles, partaking in the performance and evolving along with the dramatic course. While having fun with loudspeakers, Lautsprecher Arnolt also has a political focus, dramatizing the role of public address sound technology in Nazi Germany and other mass movements: loudspeakers as a political medium.
A male composer and a female vocalist are a common combination in electroacoustic music, as I showed in my dissertation and previous articles; and this relates to gender patterns in other cultural domains. The performance of male actor Marien Jongewaard is remarkable in this respect. Marien Jongewaard’s performance is intense, bodily, emotional, expressive; ranting, singing, screaming and crying like a madman. In Lautsprecher Arnolt, the bizarre story of Arnolt Bronnen becomes a display of excessive masculinity going rampant. This man is a ‘loud-speaker’ in a world of loudspeakers.
Lautsprecher Arnolt is a show with loudspeakers, about loudspeakers. Instead of the assumption of neutrality, abstraction and perfection of the electroacoustic apparatus, in Lautsprecher Arnolt there is an emphasis on both playfulness and socio-political meaning of sound technology.

compositie/concept: Huba de Graaff
libretto/regie: Erik- Ward Geerlings
installaties: Bart Visser

24-3-2004 première
Rotterdamse Schouwburg


Wolfgang Mitterer: Massacre (2003)

Based on Christopher Marlowe’s drama »The massacre at Paris«, Wolfgang Mitterer paints an acoustic picture of destruction, conspiracy and the thrill of power. His protagonists virtually rid themselves of their identities, turning into typological representations of different points of view. The concrete electronic sounds used by the composer throughout the score as realistic sprinklings push aside the historical dimension and fragment the chronology of the narrative. The ensemble follows the score, which uses a graphical notation so as to leave the musicians room to find their own expression. A highly intense experience!

»Mitterer belongs to the long line of composers for whom music is not transcendental, whose music neither knows, nor searches for, the prophetic hereafter of eternal joy. His music plays on this side of heaven, in the run of the mill, resounding in the deaf stone of the earth, there where – putting an end to divine judgement – “there is a stink of being” in the words of Antonin Artaud.« (quote from the booklet by Stéphan Roth)

Taken from https://www.col-legno.com/en/shop/complete_catalog/massacre

“massacre” / nora petročenko, elizabeth calleo, valérie philippin, jean-paul bonnevalle, lionel peintre
remix ensemble, peter rundel
2008 live recording: théâtre de saint-quentin-en-yvelines / paris / by dominique bataille
joint production: T&M-paris, casa da música, festival musica strasbourg
released: col legno

World premiere 2003 at Wiener Festwochen.