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Experimental opera goes virtual

The opera exploration will present its ninth season virtually.

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The experimental opera exploration known as “Prototype: Opera | Theatre | Now” will present its ninth season virtually from 8 to 16 January 2020

The season, curated by festival directors Jecca Barry, Kristin Marting, and Beth Morrison, has been re-envisioned following the Covid-19 crisis. The result is a series of multi-disciplinary, cross-platform events that expand the technological boundaries of opera-theatre and music-theatre, and offer a new vision for the audience experience.


The festival opens with three world premiere vocal theatre works: Modulation, a self-guided digital exploration of isolation, fear, and identity by 13 composers; Times3 (Times x Times x Times), an immersive sonic experience in Times Square by Geoff Sobelle & Pamela Z; and Ocean Body, a multi-screen film and music installation at HERE by composer/vocalists Helga Davis and Shara Nova and director-filmmaker Mark DeChiazza. There will also be three digital U.S. premieres from abroad – Ben Frost & Petter Ekmann’s The Murder of Halit Yozgat,  Garin Nugroho and Septina Rosalina Layan’s The Planet – A Lament, and Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists – which explore themes of racial violence and institutional blindness, environmental disaster, and the unsettling nature of change. All festival offerings will be free, except for Modulation.

The Festival directors, in a joint statement, said: “The works our audiences are used to seeing in Prototype generally take three to five years to develop and produce. This year, as Covid-19 necessitated that we put aside our originally planned festival, we recognised an opportunity. Warp-speed festival curation and artistic creation meant we could directly respond to our current time.

“While we can’t gather together in the dark of our beloved theatres, we can still take our audiences on a journey. A journey for this moment; one that has asked a group of artists to dream in different ways, collaborate in different ways, and create in different ways. The world is suffering in unimaginable ways right now. We believe that the best way for us to respond is to do what we do best – giving audiences a festival filled with astonishing work by breathtaking artists.”


Tickets for Modulation will be on sale for $25, with the remaining shows offered for free in an effort to provide the highest possible level of access to art during these challenging times. Entrance for all shows must be reserved in advance, and can be secured by visiting prototypefestival.org.

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