Rethinking the Operatic Medium

Margaret Brouwer talks about how her love of opera led to collaborating with Video/Sound Artist Kasumi.

I have always been interested in writing an opera. When I was younger and still earning much of my income as a violinist, I played in an opera orchestra, and I loved it. In fact, I thought I would be an opera composer.
I loved the mix of music, theater, costumes, dance, etc., and the challenge of putting it all together to form a compelling presentation. So it was also very intriguing to me to combine my composing skills with the art form of experimental video and sound. Kasumi and I wrote BREAKDOWN pretty much simultaneously, sending small sections back and forth on a regular basis. I created all of the musical motives by imitating intervals or rhythms of the speech, or other sounds in the video. The music is completely related to events in the video at every moment throughout. This is similar to the way I would write an opera, where the music would be integral to the text and the meaning in the opera. So writing BREAKDOWN combined my interest in writing an opera with doing an experimental work with video. It was a terrific experience. It was very interesting bringing another element besides the music into the creative process, and I enjoyed it very much.

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