Mathew Toogood / Wolfgang Wngenrothi
Kirsten Dehlholm / Jon R. Skulberg
IDEA, STAGE ADAPTION, TRNSCRIPTION, ORCHESTRATION:
Jan Dvořák / Peter Häublein / Roman Vinuesa
Adam Ryde Ankarfeldt
Nationaltheater Mannheim and Hotel Pro Forma
For 2018, The National Theatre Mannheim and Hotel Pro Forma stage an opera based on Björk’s album Vespertine, inspired by the desire to find a new form of music theatre. It appreciates those popular musical forms that have significantly shaped our understanding of art, pop music and opera.
Björk’s music has a tendency towards the Gesamtkunstwerk and thus might be predestined for adaption to the genre of opera. The traditional opera tells about the drama of love and fate, using a sequence of arias. This structure is paralleled in the pop album. As one of the great musical formal inventions of the 20th century, the pop album deserves an appreciation, as it is about to slowly disappear.
Our version of Vespertine is a visual poem about cells, transformation, frequencies. Every cell has a message. Every cell is dynamic. Vespertine as opera is a musical transcription. The otherworldly living blends with the biological inner world. Biology is a constant existing at all times, changing accordingly to circumstances and condition. So does nature of which we are part.
Vespertine presents our wish to be in control and our need to examine, investigate and understand our biodiversity and intimacy. Vespertine also travels into the world of myth and legends.
Hotel Pro Forma’s staging creates an ethereal space of material and immaterial reflections. A singing landscape moves on the ground, a lab with a view is a construction for science and biotechnology. Above the lab, a boy is the creation of clouds – and imagination.
”An intoxicating experience for all the senses”
“…The enthuiastic response at the end of the 70-minute stage version was more than justified.”
“(…) the symbiosis that director Kirsten Dehlholm and Jon Skulberg from the theatrical collective Hotel Pro Forma achieve out of the acoustic and opitcal shifts is simply gripping”
“Ji Yoon and Aki Hashimoto give Björk’s Sinuous voice, which generates a world of emotions in every note, a schooled expression of classical singing that nevertheless does not create an opera-like effect. The sounds, in no way unfamiliar, are transferred to the symphonic, and the suggestive scene image transfers pop aesthetics to the operatic genre in an admirable way without the one genre having to give way to the other.
Have we witnessed the future of the opera? It is a highly promising beginning at any rate. Unrestrained enthusiasm at the premiere.”