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
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.”
Cally Spooner developed And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, a peripatetic musical (music composition: Peter Joslyn), over the course of two years. The piece was delivered by a chorus line of women, gossiping about celebrities, athletes and politicians who have outsourced their performances to a technology, with examples including Beyoncé’s lip-syncing scandal during the presidential inauguration, Lance Armstrong’s Oprah-mediated apology for his use of doping, and speechwriter Jon Favreau’s departure from the White House in pursuit of a career as a Hollywood scriptwriter. The chorus’ libretto was based on meeting notes from an advertising agency, on how to extract personally disclosed stories and aspirations from employees and repackage them to better reflect the voice of their corporation as a tv-commercials.
Distinct groups of performers seem oblivious to one another: an opera singer announces five scenes in the guise of television hosts, a chorus line generate soundtrack at static microphones, dancers -governed by in-ear sound systems produce a repetitive image of movement while technical crew follow shot-lists, which most often privilege empty space and apparatus. As floor managers assemble, dis-assemble then re-assemble uninhabited stage-sets, the production team call cuts to pre-recorded commercial breaks, from a distant control room.
In the installation at the Stedelijk Museum, filmic composition becomes a by-product of a process; where these several well-rehearsed units of performers produce a forty-six minute non-stop motion, which sometimes creates coherency, and at other times does not. The six camera feeds are presented on five screens, with their chronology and technical mishaps left untouched, in an installation that has more in common with a live choreographic event, than cinema.
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.