Music and stage on the ruins of Pop
voice | body | narrator in the dark | seven instruments | electronics | shadows in motion | words | mirror
“One should not build from the good old times, rather from the bad new ones”. B. Brecht
A dramatically modern statement, with the paradox that Brecht’s time has since become the good old days, whereas our present – on the ruins of pop – holds the bad times we must face.
Prior to a piece for voice, body, seven musicians, a conductor, etc., I envision each element as a “character”. none is simply decorative, each participates in the “writing” or rather the dramaturgy of the piece as a whole, according to their own specificities – be they cello or mirror-reflected shadows. and perhaps this is, in a way, an opera, though a chamber one, with a single voice – but is it merely solo?
Faust in the box uses some of these bad times’ media/contents to analyze them from thematic and structural viewpoints.
The musical ensemble: Ars Nova instrumental ensemble
1 clarinet – bass clarinet
1 double bass – fretless electric bass 2 percussionists
Two main criteria influenced the instrumentation choice:
1. as this work revolves around Helga Davis’s wonderfully androgynous voice and tone, i thought of instruments capable of both echoing her voice (bass clarinet, doublebass, cello, etc.) and contrasting it (violin, alto, glockenspiel).
2. thanks to audio and video technology the show will take place in varied venues of all sizes. but given that it is a chamber opera in the formal sense of the word, i conceived it as a restricted ensemble, namely chamber. Chamber music reached its peak in Goethe’s time; therefore, i envisioned a septet of conventional instruments in keeping with instrumentation back then (for example, Beethoven’s septet op.20), albeit with saxophone instead of horn and percussions. naturally, instruments and voice will be ampli ed to blend with the electronics.
Faust | Helga Davis
In the view, the soul is not reflected by the eyes, rather by…the voice. the microphone acts as a microscope/ins- trument allowing one to delve into the inwardness of «singing». Helga Davis’s three full octaves and naturally malleable timber, together with her stage prowess, allow me to write for an extraordinary musical and theatrical «instrument», one that is intrinsically rich with diverse personalities harmonizing into a «polyphonic piece» for solo voice – via electronics. Faust is neither old nor young, neither male nor female.
Narrator in the dark (recorded) | Robert Wilson
The narrator is an ironic, grotesque, and very austere stage direction, a modern ghost-writer who writes and rewrites the story while unleashing apparently common words in the dark, off-stage, to reveal and shape the narrative course. his key words trigger the characters’ story, derived from one main word, Mephisto: m, like metal, moving, moon, mask, man – e, like experience, exodus, entrance – P, like Psychology, Permission, etc…
It is a fact that he who eats cookies is deafened by a din pre- venting him from hearing the world around, and at teatime Schildknaap showed how a biscuit-chomping society cannot hear anything.
T. Mann, Doctor Faustus