The Endless Forest featured in an Opera

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Last weekend we were invited to Antwerp to see a performance of Muziektheater Transparant’s new opera Solitude which is based on the music of baroque composer Henry Purcell. A description from their website:

Solitude plays on the boundary between reality and fiction. It tells the story of He and She, each in their own room and looking for the other and themselves. Staring into the other world through their webcam, or perhaps not? On the other side of the door is an escape route, a way that would lead them to each other, a virtual world with its own laws and boundaries. Lost in the game, He and She ultimately return to their rooms.

In this annual summer project organised by Muziektheater Transparant, a group of young singers and instrumentalists take up the challenge of creating the first performance of an extremely unusual opera after a short but intensive rehearsal period.

Not only were the young musicians involved highly talented, they made a fascinating exploration of the multiplayer game experience; The emotional attachment we have to these type of games and to the people we play with in them. Yes, an Opera about playing MMOs! Scenes from many different games were projected, often superimposed over the faces of the main actors. The costumes were made of various found objects, like a suit of WoW armor made entirely of pastic drink bottles. Very odd sounding but it really did work. It was an honor that The Endless Forest was chosen for the finalé when actors and musicians donned antlers and sung a song of blissful reconciliation. =) The lyrics went something like: “Let’s play this game, as a pleasant dream. Let’s forget about everything…”

UPDATE: we were sent better photographs of the performance, taken by Koen Broos…

6 thoughts on “The Endless Forest featured in an Opera”

  1. haha! possibly so!
    but if you could have heard how professional these young people were, .it was impressive. They were playing expertly on authentic baroque instruments. And their operatic performance was quite moving actually. The boy lead was a soprano(!) and when he played the lute and sang of his solitude (while some snowy MMO landscape floated behind him) it brought a tear to my eye… seriously.

    all respect to Henry Pucell tho, hope that didn’t make his ghost too dizzy. 😉

  2. That’s sweet. Who’d say an MMO-based Opera would warrant such strong emotions?

    Some say Purcell’s ghost had already experienced some dizziness when Walter Carlos composed an electronic version of his “music for the funeral of Queen Mary” for the soundtrack of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Personally, I have the greatest respect for that particular work by Carlos.

    What about you Michaël: did you cry, too? 😉

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