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New Media Pocket Opera

NMPO (New Media Pocket Opera) is a practice-based exploration of new interactive audio-visual technologies for opera and music-theatre, investigating the dramaturgical implications of combining the real and virtual within music-based theatre. The project uses live performance, voice-synthesis and real-time projection of sound and images to examine the phenomenon of technologically-driven story telling, investigating the new methods and means offered by specially-developed new performance interfaces and instruments.

The project forms part of a collaboration between STEIM (Amsterdam), CROMT (the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre) at the University of Sussex, Forum Neues Musiktheater of Stuttgart Opera and Tempo Reale Studio in Florence, with each centre initially contributing a new work made to the same brief but employing different technologies or programmes. The pieces, each lasting about thirty minutes, were given first performances at the 2006 ISCM World New Music Festival in Stuttgart last July.

NMPO's new website, designed by Yoko Seyama, concentrates on one of the works - garden of dream - and offers the chance to view video clips and backstage images.

Shi, a young deaf artist, works as a graphics illustrator, but now her blind partner has been torn way from her. They loved and needed each other desperately because Shi was their eyes and her lover their ears. Through her graphics, Shi found a way of expressing the intensity of their love. Now, left alone, she goes obsessively over and over their happiness.

The reality of that happiness collapses when Shi sees two apparations. One is the strange Prof O'deery and the other a little spotted cat by the name of Chitraka. She is no longer clear about reality. Are the two apparations real? Was her happy life only a garden of dreams? What effect will all this have on her sanity?

STEIM's garden of dream is based freely on Rebecca Brown's novel Folie à deux, and is a collaboration between composer Daniel Schorno and stage and dress designer Yoko Seyama. Video design is by Seyama and Schorno. Dirk Haubrich provides musical and dramaturgical advice, and STEIM Amsterdam provides assistance with instrument design (Jorgen Brinkman) and production (Erika Combeé).

The performers are Ernest Rombout (piccolo-heckelphone and sensor electronics), Frank van de Ven (dance and direction), Pascal Boudreault (live illustration and electronic objects), and Camille Hesketh (virtual voice and dialogues).

Yoko Seyama was born in Tokyo in 1980, and from early in her architectural training at Musashino Art University, she began specializing in the creation of spatial installations for performance art contexts. Her twelve years' experience of formal classical ballet fostered her love for the theatre and a deep interest in contemporary dance and improvisation. Since moving to the Netherlands in 2005, she has been concentrating on Theatre Design and Film at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

Born in Zurich, Daniel Schorno studied composition in London and electronic music in the Netherlands, and lives in Amsterdam with a cat and a collection of unusual instruments in his street window. He led STEIM as Artistic Co-director until 2005. Numerous (ongoing) projects bind his passionate approach towards realtime sound integration with new electronic sensor instruments and live-electronic music. His concert work, workshops and media collaborations have lead him as far afield as Johannesburg's Soweto, Iceland, China and the street kids and artists of Guatemala City, as well as all over Europe. He collaborates with musicians, video artists, choreographers and dancers such as Jon Rose, Netochka Nezvanova, Alain Pelletier, José Navas and Frank van de Ven. He performs with the latest series of hand-held 'mini controllers' from STEIM's 'kitchen'.

Information: www.pocketopera.info

Posted: 30 March 2007

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