Papers from POSSIBLE FUTURES OF OPERA
Materials from route 5: Possible Futures of Opera.
Quick-and-dirty concept brainstorm
Henry, Juan, Gareth : Eortic sound poem to my plant –
Huge, sensual plant + one performer + A voice, a chorus, singing about unfulfilled desires on stage
Electronic signals from the plant is transformed into sound and light (the voice of the plant) The human seduces the plant – from a human perspective
A romance between human and plant across their differences!
Questions: What is consent in this context? Is technology as the translator a bridge or a problem? Who is the solo performer? How do we relate to the electronic soundwaves of the plant, is it visualized? What would be the source of the text?
Next step: what would be the audience experience? Originally we wanted the plant to be the audience …
Challenges: What space are you in? Why do humans want to translate the plants into a voice? Is there a mythological layer in there (e.g. Tristan and Isolde)? Is it a comedy? Attach the same electrodes to the humans to make the dialogue equal.
Kathrine, Evelyn, Rowan : Fake Vulnerability
Concept 1: Sound installation in which visitors are asked 10 leading questions about vulnerability. The answers could be interpreted live by improvised music.
Or 2. Same set-up, but the questions are recorded, and a sound artist would look for cracks in the voices, and make a sound piece out of these (trembles, cracks etc)
Or 3. A slimy space. Bringing sweet and bad together. Tactile installation. If you touch it it reacts to you. The vulnerability is translated into slime and mucus.
What does it mean to ask an audience to share vulnerability towards something they don’t know the result of – is this even ok? How to do it in a responsible way?
The questions asked are deliberately manipulative, but the audience knows beforehand. It is a private experience, one person at a time.
How are the rules set, and how are they presented? How are we taking care of the audience – not pushing them, but still daring to go into deep, intimate emotions with them, listening from there. Can music be exactly the medium that can handle these emotions? What space is framing the installation – is it in an art gallery? Who is asking the question/the role of the performer? What is the connection between voice and vulnerability?
The idea of the private, one-person opera – an opera for one person together with an opera-singer, who interprets your answers.
Ruth (source-giver): True vulnerability as an underlying music layer + the mask of vulnerability on top of it
Next step: Defining vulnerability – contra e.g. intimacy. Mauro, Gareth, Karen : Awakening
Concept1: Contemporary rites of passage – interviewing people about moments of transitions in their lives (often: christening, marriage, death…) but from a contemporary perspective such as: The moment you deleted your facebook account. External rites that doesnt match your internal rites – “everyone is getting married, so will I”.
Concept2: The aria (air) – the slowing down of the breath in the time of death. Could we make a piece out of this – the tempo of breath in different stages: fast in babies, while making love, just before dying…
Concept3: Songs and dances about transition. Staging actions that represents the awakening but that also makes sound.
Comments: Breath is political (George Floyd, The Corona pandemic). How do macrostructures determine who can breathe. + including biopolitics. Could it become a time-based narrative piece? Can you make a dramaturgy that starts from the most banal type of awakening (an overture of alarms) and builds towards more political or metamorphic layers.
Reference piece: Astma
Next step: Where does it take place?
Nina, Rebekka, Teresa : Erotic sound poem about my plant
Spending too much time with your plants during covid, only having your plants to relate too, having to find a way to communicate with plants, trying to relate to the tempo of the plant
Taking place in a greenhouse
First Act: The audience is watching from the outside
On/in Stage is two performers – a performer or puppet playing a plant, and a performer playing a human. Duet between the two.
Second Act: The audience is invited inside into an immersive space, the plant and the human enter a symbiosis (they share 50 % DNA anyways) and become one.
Perhaps using a aztec death whistle as the scream from a plant, whenever the human tried to resist the symbiosis.
Comments: Is the dome sound-proof, can you play with not being able to hear the music? Can this be done non-fictional – does an opera have to be fictional characters? More immersiveness, cymetics in the water? Collections of habitual corona-isolation-stories? How can the physical setting highlight the isolation and loneliness – can you use loneliness in the process of creation?
Kathrine (source-giver): Can you follow a psychedelic route, the human really trying hard to become one with the plant.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
— who is the audience? What is the audience experience? Anything specific they should feel?
— what is the cultural / geographical / language context of the performance?
— how does the audience enter the world? Is an exposition needed?
— what is the space?
— what is the process of collaboration / making the piece? — what is the form? Structure?
— how can we disrupt the form?
— what is the relevance? why are you making this piece?
— what is it really about? e.g. sum up in one word?
— are there some universal themes? Take-away “insights”? Personal reflections?
— what is the relationship between the elements you are using (e.g. music, voice, text, movement, video, space)
— what is the relationship between performer — content — dramaturgy
— what are these relationships – between the author, character and the performer?:
— what does the piece say about opera? (what is the relationship with the genre?) — What would Castellucci* do? (*insert your chosen artist here)
— what are the red lines for a project idea? What would not be acceptable for me?
— if you work with Manifesto Points, do they erupt from your previous practise or as an intellectual/conceptual/emotional mindset to confront future works or both?