“The sublime communication between movement, voice and instrument ... makes this journey quite inspirational.” DANCE AUSTRALIA
“an enthralling, richly envisioned and visually arresting production ...” ARTSHUB
Abandon yourself to sublime baroque music and stunning contemporary physical dance courtesy of OperaQ Studio, Dancenorth and classical accordion virtuoso James Crabb. Don’t look for a logic or a narrative - Abandon’s sequence is irrational, like a dream whose submerged meaning speaks to the dreamer alone.
Co-created by Lindy Hume, Raewyn Hill and James Crabb, this experimental new work re-imagines a selection of arias, choruses, dances and a duet by Georg Friedrich Händel. Featuring five dancers, four singers and two musicians in exquisite Alistair Trung couture on a striking set by Bruce McKinven with lighting by Bosco Shaw, Abandon pushes performance boundaries to create moments of catharsis and connection.
Mourn, all ye muses! weep, all ye swains!
Tune, tune your reeds to doleful strains!
Groans, cries and howlings fill the neighb'ring shore:
Ah, ah, the gentle Acis is no more!
Chorus Acis and Galatea - GF Handel
In a room with fragile walls - a kind of purgatory - a group of people gather. Like strangers in a departure lounge, their stories are linked only randomly, or perhaps not at all. A sense of mourning ebbs and flows as - individually and collectively - the group's humanity, their flaws, their anger, playfulness and loneliness is gradually revealed via a selection of arias, choruses, dances and a duet by the baroque composer George Frideric Handel.
Theatre magician, psychologist, observer of the human condition and genius of the da capo aria form, Handel created over 40 operas; literally hundreds of characters and arias, every one of them an exquisitely faceted crystal bead or wine glass, holding in perfect balance the depth, richness, bite and heady potency of perfectly fused words and music, vocal and dramatic artistry. In the three-phase journey of the da capo aria, its interpreter analyses and explores a single emotion in depth and complexity.
Intrigued by the psychological landscape of the da capo aria form, we three very different artists - a musician, a choreographer and a director - seek to entwine moments, ideas, images and scenes from our own memories and imaginations. Together with our adventurous cohort of dancers, singers and musicians, and supported by three extraordinary designers, we've threaded 18 of Handel's beautiful crystal beads to create a strand in three sections encompassing arias from 4 operas - Tolomeo, Alcina, Orlando, and Hercules, and the dramatic cantata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. The heartbreak, loss, loneliness, grief, jealousy and madness of these mythic characters may take place in the dream-landscapes of magical or treacherous islands, deep forests and Arcadian groves, but these very human emotions have been felt by each of us, the performers and you, the audience.
So we return to the humans in this room where emotional expression offers connection and catharsis. Don't look for a logical progression from one scene to the next - there is no narrative, no thesis. Unlike most baroque operas which travel from chaos to order, our trajectory seems to travel in the opposite direction. Its sequence is deliberately irrational, like a dream whose submerged meaning speaks to the dreamer alone.
The three of us have never worked together before, so this has been an exercise in trust that's been rewarded by mutual respect as well as moments of surprise, beauty and revelation. Bringing opera singers, contemporary dancers, musicians, fashion designer Alistair Trung, lighting designer Bosco and scenic designer Bruce McKinven together to collaborate on this adventure has challenged and extended each of us, and reminded us daily of the heady, scary, thrilling potency and necessity of taking risks.
Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse
A co-production between OperaQ Studio and Dancenorth presented by Brisbane Powerhouse as part of World Theatre Festival 2014, positioned alongside the Australian Performing Arts Market.
The performance lasts approximately1 hour.
Image: Bottlebrush Studios