7 Three-minutes Operas
In the online Intensive Student Project that was supposed to have happened live in Porto, three sessions with different perspectives on the practice of new opera-making and its future were held. Because of COVID-19 the process went different than planned.
First, in May 2021 students and teachers from the three institutes of WG2 gathered online. The students were commissioned to create together with their peers from other partners, or with their own group, online operas. They had to create music and write a libretto, make a set design, think about the visualization of the ‘narrative’, the use of language and subtitling, and also perform the music and text. And they had to think about the new demands of today: what could an opera be about, what are its characteristics? As an extra limiting and therefore ‘directing’ task the opera couldn’t be longer than 180 seconds.
Since the end of May 2021, 7 groups of students – 2 of them international, the others groups of students from partners from the project – made micro-operas, had its premiere on the three consecutive days of the ISP Preview Porto online festival (Sept. 2021). After this the micro-operas were shown, and the program continued with a reflection about the micro-operas between participating teachers, students and the audience. This was followed by discussions with opera professionals. What are today’s subjects in opera? What are stories about, and how does the use of another medium influence the thinking about opera? How does opera reflect society, or has it taken another form? What is needed according to the field to attract an audience, what developments are happening in the new opera, and what does this require from students? And how should HEI’s adapt their curricula to make sure that the students will have the best career perspective? What is being asked from the voice, do composers work differently, and do HEI’s change the
way techniques are being taught?
In Search of...
In Search of … is a 3-minute micro-opera for 2 vocalists, piano, chromatic harmonica & violin choir, and small percussions, combining tape (mainly human voices) with electroacoustic mixing. The opera is in two sections: I. Suppressed, and II. Liberté. The opera explores how the modern female was stereotyped and judged in society, such as career, social class, gender orientation, marriage, and mainstream ideology.
They are hidden in the human voices throughout the opera, while the second part delivers a strong wish to follow her mind without being suppressed by others.
Music, Libretto & directed
Hon Ning Cheung
Chin Hei Cheng
Piano, chromatic harmónica
Hon Ning Cheung
Wun Kuan Yam, Ming Hong Lui, Wai Ting Tai, Chung Sum Leung, Heike Plendl, Alexandra
Pupi e Pupari
Orlando, the first paladin of France and great protagonist of the Opera dei pupi, is on vacation. The Angel calls Orlando and tries to convince him that she can manipulate his life. Orlando reacts with scepticism and refuses to accept this role-play. The final decision will depend on the choice of the audience.
Music and libretto
Stela Dicusară – Angel Gaetan Waterkeyn
Oboe and English Horn
Piano and Tambourine
Spare some change, Sir?
Royal Conservatoire Antwerp
Listen to your true self. Hear your intuition, your faith, your madness, your empathy, your mysticism. Truth lays in all of us. We all need to be in charge. We need to become whole again.
An opera by
Rúben Borges, Gerlan Den Braber, Kristien Doumen and Jenna Vergeynst
thanks to Lucia Mrakovcic and Steven Prengels past the deadline, but you are interested in the module, please contact the coordinator via e-mail to check the availability of the module.
Mephisto’s final video call
Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music – Riga
Mephistopheles video calls Faust to tell him about his evil plan – to spread a deadly illness among humans. During the video call, three Latvian Goddesses are coming to the inferno to stop Mephistophele’s plan. When goddesses are in the inferno, Mephistopheles decides to flee and a story about Faust begins.
Music and lyrics
Gaitis Janis Pujats
Three Latvian Goddesses (sopranos)
UNMASKING - THIS IS NOT ABOUT PASTA
The opera Così fan tutte was the starting point for the creation of UNMASKING – THIS IS NOT ABOUT
PASTA, driving us into the concept of judging – judging the other and/or judging ourselves. This concept is explored mainly by the performance itself and it has been added the concept of masking by the Sonnet VIII of 35 Sonnets by Fernando Pessoa. To mask is then related to the act of judging, in a way of protection – internal or external, we let a mask protect us. Both the voice and the flute — as well as the writing of the work — are related to the concept of masking, which is thus present in its form and content. We have created a relation between the act of eating and the carnal desire, present in the opera Così fan tutte; with the performer, who desires the plate that is on the table; and with the voice that becomes the second character and manipulates the mask/eats the pasta. The movements made by the performer are sudden due to the voice that this body hears – the movement takes place precisely because of the “molding” that she makes to the voice (to its rhythm, texture, word).
Character 1 and mask designer
Voice and character 2
Flute and sound production
Thanks to Bruno Pereira, Cláudia Marisa, Renata Lima
Our 3-minute opera “InBetween” is inspired by Othello’s character Desdemona, who is murdered even though she is innocent. The Opera is divided in three parts: “Help me”, “Why?” and “Take me” – the stages of confusion that Desdemona goes through, due to the fact that she’s trapped in between worlds, before her soul “crosses over”. Desdemona can represent every victim of pointless death or violence, be it domestic violence or anything of the sort. We invoke nature elements such as water, earth and air to create a ghostly atmosphere that remains somewhat material. Some video excerpts represent flashy memories of “Desdemona’s” life, while others, evoking earth, represent her body surrendering to ashes, and the air/sky symbolizes the rising of her soul into the ether, into the sky. We wanted to evidence this contrast between the material world (earth, nature) and the spiritual world (sky). All the videos, sounds and voices were recorded and captured by the three of us. The concepts and ideas always came naturally from the three of us, during videocalls or group texts. The music and video edition is Ernests’ work and skill.
Ernests Valts Circenis
Beatriz Gaudêncio Ramos
I WILL RETURN TO FIND A VOICE
A dark and surreal space confronted by a disillusioned young woman; an idea of Heaven and lost love. A voice has fallen silent but not unheard. In part inspired by the story and music of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and by the poetry of Nobel prize laureate Louise Glück, “I will return to find a voice” is a micro-opera for soprano and prepared piano. It tells a story of a young woman – fragile and sensitive – defeated by reality and the loss of love. The visual aspect of the opera deals with the term of objectification – what she holds dear in the living space, the limbless mannequin, is but a form of what she has been made to feel like from which the only escape, she thinks, is death. What lies beyond is a forest and that which she ached to behold: transformation and rebirth, solace and comfort.
by Louise Glück from her poetry collection ‘The Wild Iris’ (translated to Lithuanian by Marius Burokas and
Dominykas Norkūnas) © All rights reserved
Julius Juzeliūnas spatial sound sphere of the Music Innovation Studies Centre (MiSC) at the Lithuanian
Academy of Music and Theatre
Directing, sound mixing, video editing
Costume design and make-up
Balcony Theatre of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre
Special thanks to assoc. prof. Mantautas Krukauskas and Vytenis Gadliauskas