This new video opera by Steve Reich and Beryl Korot is to be the very first opera staged live in an IMAX cinema, and recalls three events from 20th century history: the crash of the Hindenburg Zeppelin in 1937; nuclear bomb testing on Bikini Atoll in 1946-1958; and the cloning of Dolly the Sheep in 1996.
These three very different events are made similar in the length at which they display technology’s growing dominance in society, and are explored in an environment which strives to record scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. The production is presented alongside the Institute of Historical Research’s conference, Being Modern: Science and Culture in the early Twentieth Century, and furthermore, the first performance of the opera will take place upon the centenary of the first use of chemical weapons in warfare: 22 April 1915.
The immersive and multimedia piece is formed from live orchestra and performers, sampled audio tracks, re-mastered and edited historical film, and videotaped interviews. Ensemble BPM, who were founded in 2010 and specialise in the creation of contemporary musical multimedia, now collaborate with both emerging and established artists to develop vivid and accessible performances that reflect the pace and flux of our complex modern life. For this piece, Ensemble BPM will be joined by performers including Synergy Vocals, a world-renowned vocal collective led by former Swingle Singer Micaela Haslam, and which was previously selected by Steve Reich to premiere the work in 2002.
While looking back into history, the immersive operatic piece aims to illuminate the sights and sounds of our multi-layered, multicultural and multi-platform world.
Ensemble BPM: Three Tales, 22-24 April, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD.
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