Clay Paky Sharpy in NEITHER, by Morton Feldman and Samuel Beckett

Clay Paky Sharpy in NEITHER, by Morton Feldman and Samuel Beckett

Year

2012

Location

Germany

Lighting designer

Björn Hermann

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posted: April 29, 2012

Neither is the first 3d-audio modern opera performance. “A mind-movie for the 21st century, that plays around with today’s technology and media.” (MDR Figaro)

On March 2nd, 2012 Phase7 performing arts (www.phase7.de) led by the artistic director Sven Sören Beyer staged the first 3d-audio opera at the European Center of the Arts Hellerau in Dresden, Germany.

The original opera piece written by Samuel Beckett and composed by Morton Feldman in 1976 for a large orchestra and a solo soprano, one of the most mysterious pieces of modern opera, was interpreted in a totally new way with the possibilities of today latest techniques.

The original orchestra was replaced by a virtual orchestra located three dimensional within the audience, the single instruments even moving around while playing.

The audience was sitting in the midst of an octagon of 72 loudspeakers creating the 3d sound via a wave field system by IOSONO (www.iosono-sound.com). The only physically present solo singer Eir Inderhaug was standing on a platform in the middle of the audience in a constantly changing sculpture of light, created by 12 Clay Paky SHARPYs and eight mirrors.

The opera claims a very special position in modern opera history, the composer Morton Feldman as well as the author Samuel Beckett invented a totally new way of dealing with this genre. They refused any kind of storyline, characters or dramatic action. Nothing of that can be found in this piece. Instead the opera tries to describe a condition of a human being, nothing more and nothing less. After a conversation between the two artists in 1976, in which they agreed that they refused the up-to-then way of doing opera, Samuel Beckett wrote a short poem-like mysterious libretto of only 87 words that he send to Morton Feldman on a postcard.

An anonymous ego, torn and in between of everything, unable to locate itself, is trying to speak up and describe his condition of existence, constantly failing and searching for a place somewhat like home. Based on that Morton Feldman composed a 50 minutes long piece for grand orchestra and a solo singer, singing in such a high tone, that it is impossible to understand the words. Only vowels are left to hear.

Phase7 performing.arts connected this very abstract piece with the feeling of modern life media identity, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and changing illuminations around the soprano Eir Inderhaug.

The lighting designer Björn Hermann limited the light material to mainly Clay Paky SHARPYs claiming that “it was the only possible way to create such an exact sculpture of light, because of it’s outstanding ability to focus with a very small angle of radiation”.

Within the performance the light sculpture played a great part, creating different images alongside with the music, emerging as a partner or a world to relate to for the singer, leading her way in the dark. Changing between an illuminated prison of beams around her, a focused spot illuminating her as a figure of light and an almost comforting diffuse home of light surrounding her against the endless dark, the light design became the architecture and an actual set design for the performance.

Two sold out performances in Dresden will be followed by five performances at the Radialsystem V in Berlin in July 2012 before the performance will travel to Asia to be shown at the New Vision Arts Festival in Hong Kong in November 2012.

Contact: Davide Barbetta davide.barbetta@claypaky.it