Your electrifying journey through the minds of 13 of the most provocative voices in contemporary music is ready. But, before you venture through this multidimensional landscape of new musical pieces, it might be helpful to know more about the extraordinary artists who lent their talents to create Modulation.
A co-presentation with the Prototype Festival, Modulation is a groundbreaking exploration of opera and theater adapted to a new interactive online format. You get the chance to take the (metaphorical) wheel of this virtual experience and travel through three categories of musical exploration: fear, identity, and isolation. Pretty appropriate for the year we’ve just had, right? The new pieces fall under one of these three themes (with one of them connecting everything together with a theme of “breath"), while also individually exploring a more personal interpretation of this past tumultuous and revelatory year.
Together, they're walking us through one continuous musical landscape, a remarkable achievement since these 13 artists make up an extraordinarily diverse and interesting group of creatives. More than half of Modulation’s composers are women (seven out of 13 to be exact), five of them are originally from other countries, and nearly all are individuals of color. But obviously, their work speaks (sings?) louder than any sort of stats. Take a closer look at each composer, the theme’s they’re exploring, and a bit about their upcoming pieces below.
Vocal and intermedia artist Carmina Escobar sets the scene for this experience with a range of experimental sounds that guide your journey through Modulation. Her work is intended to move and integrate audiences as active participants in the coming pieces and connect each one through the unifying idea of breath.
Yvette Janine Jackson builds on her experience as a theatrical sound designer to influence her compositions. Her art often draws from history to explore relevant social issues, which is what you’ll find in "Fear Is Their Alibi." This piece emerged from an event experienced by poet Jarita Davis and is a meditation on the pervasive mindset held by those we may call neighbors, colleagues, family, or friends.
Molly Joyce is a composer and performer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work is concerned with disability as a creative source, as she personally has an impaired left hand resulting from a car accident. "Out of a thought" is motivated by a fear of the unknown, particularly in 2020, and how the unknown body, place, object, and more has motivated mass movement, uncertainty, and challenge.
Joel Thompson won an Emmy Award for his piece “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” as it was featured in the film Love, Life & Loss, a music documentary about the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club. In his new work "Clairvoyance," he explores fear, paralysis, wonder, and the liminal space between these three states of being. This work aims to prove that, above all, love is the key to seeing our past, present, and future selves with clarity.
Juhi Bansal, a familiar face at LAO (you might remember her work Edge of a Dream that was performed as our newest Secondary In-School Opera), created "WAVES OF CHANGE." This work is inspired by teenage Muslim girls in the Bangladesh Girls Surf Club. Juhi’s lush music is the backdrop to the girls’ mastery of their surfboards and the force of the ocean.
Paul Pinto's first collaboration with video designer/director Kameron Neal, "WHITENESS: BLANC," contemplates whiteness from the perspective of a brown American man. In line with his creative mission of producing experimental music and theatrical works, this compelling piece utilizes micro pop songs and biting wit to skewer common racial assumptions.
Jojo Abot is an interdisciplinary artist exploring evolving themes of spirituality, identity and community with self as the starting point to collective evolution. Her vibrant work, "THE DIVINE I AM," invites us into a natural world, which we learn we must care for or face the consequences.
Angélica Negrón, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, collaborated with singer Lido Pimienta and illustrator Mariela Pabon for the work "OSTRA COSA" (something else). This piece explores their personal experiences of prejudice as Latinas using pulsating electronics, dark humor and samples from Latin pop hits.
Bora Yoon’s sonic and visual collage that interprets and reflects upon isolation as inaction draws on texts from environmental and racial protests from around the world. The work, "The Life of the World to Come," weaves a thread of uncertainty as the most dire form of isolation.
Sahba Aminikia grew up in the wartime of post-revolutionary Iran, witnessing the restrictions placed on people on the streets of Tehran. His piece "AYENE (mirror) explores the idea of isolation through the lens of being at home, as he sees it as both as a place that allows for the fullest expression of individualism, as well as a refuge from violence outside the door.
Jimmy López Bellido, a native of Lima, Peru, collaborated with librettist Mark Campbell and mezzo- soprano Sasha Cooke to create "Where Once We Sang," a prayer-like song that looks past the current era of isolation to a brighter future when artists can flock back to theaters and concert halls to perform for live audiences.
Raven Chacon’s Navajo culture can be seen in his work "La Indita Cautiva." The piece is centered around the idea of an older Navajo woman speaking to her younger self, and the subsequent feelings of loss, regret, and joy that comes with that conversation.
Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) examines the isolation of mental illness in his deeply personal work "I Have Nothing to Do Except Love." After seeing someone close to him suffer from a degenerative brain disease, and the lasting affects it has on one’s internal and external life, DBR collaborated with singer Minna Choi and director Dana Greenfield to evoke the sense of both elements through music, text and dance.
This one-of-a-kind experience, co-presented by Prototype Festival, Carolina Performing Arts, and Opera Omaha, is so good, it's been extended through February 28th, 2021. Still need to see what all the hype is about?