“We were impressed by the breadth of colour in the composition and the compelling staging of a very complex, intellectual-discursive work.”
It’s the year 2180 and a post-utopian matriarchy reigns over all humanity. The fundamental values of the world constitution is the protection of emotional and psychological integrity: any kind of damage, harm, or trauma must be radically prevented. A brave new world of products has been designed and implemented in order to create risk-free intimacy, as human suffering must be prevented at all costs.
We witness one such performing robot gain consciousness by way of preforming three canonical, pre-programmed heroines. As the robot resets herself through multiple artificial personalities (i.e., the canonical roles of Mozart's Contessa, Puccini's Butterfly, and finally Berg's Lulu), she questions herself on the fates of these heroines and learns from their stories. What will she now do with this acquired knowledge, and how will she build her new narrative? Through a lean and carefully curated quartet (vln, vlc, acc, synth), the music is as multi-layered as our heroine, evoking a lush orchestra, alarming error messages, and through an emotionally charged soundscape, supports our main character's slowly unfolding ‘awakening’.
The opera canon, which induces suffering through catharsis, is still being staged to achieve moments of escapism and to celebrate nostalgic throwbacks to narcissistic romanticism. As with all emotionally burdening tasks, opera singing has been outsourced to robots. These robots have been programmed by the ‘Union of Prevention of Emotionally Stressful Labour’ to embody the female roles of the old opera canon.