Hackney duo to stage experimental opera Room of Worlds
William Morris and a work of early feminist fiction are the inspirations for contemporary chamber opera featuring electronics and video
A mixed-media, experimental opera produced by a Hackney-based electronic artist and avant-garde vocalist is to be performed in May at The Horse Hospital in central London.
Room of Worlds is an hour-long chamber opera for live voices, electronics and video. It charts the physical and psychological journey of a woman in a patriarchal landscape of domesticity, love and loneliness, through medicine and memory to the edge of madness.
Electronic artist Charles Webber composed the opera and also produced video for it, while experimental vocalist and former member of punk group Crass, Eve Libertine, wrote the libretto.
It is loosely based on the autobiographical short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, written in the nineteenth century and regarded as a significant piece of early American feminist literature.
Gilman suffered from post natal depression and was treated with the then fashionable theory of complete rest and isolation which made her worse. She wrote the story and sent it to the doctor in charge of her treatment as an indictment.
“She was an early feminist with progressive views exceptional for a woman of that time and went on to lecture widely on feminism and social reform,” explains Eve Libertine.
Exploring the notion of the video surface as consciousness, Room of Worlds promises to be an immersive experience with a score derived from the designs of William Morris, pioneer of the nineteenth century arts and crafts movement.
Two female singers, Cara Mchardy (dramatic soprano) and Ali Warner (free voice), will be performing live with film and electronic score, with Gavin Bailey (baritone) singing the male roles recorded within the film score.
Room of Worlds is produced by operaNCV and is funded by the Arts Council England Lottery Funding, with support from The Horse Hospital, Femme Brutal (Oslo) and DACS Audio.
Room of Worlds is at The Horse Hospital, The Colonnade, WC1N 1JD from 9– 10 May, 7.30pm. Tickets : £6 advance / £7.50 door