“War Sum Up. Music. Manga. Machines” The Latvian National Opera, Riga 2nd and 3rd September, 16th and 17th Oktober
This autumn, the international performance and installation laboratory, Hotel Pro Forma (Denmark), in cooperation with the British performance pop orchestra, The Irrepressibles, and the Latvian National Opera, will introduce their newest creation, “War Sum Up. Music. Manga. Machines”. The performance will debut at the Latvian National Opera on 2 September of this year.
The authors of the multimedia performance are the director, Kirsten Dehlholm (Denmark), and the librettist, Willie Flindt (Denmark); both are the creators of Hotel Pro Forma.
Twelve singers from the Latvian Radio Choir will reveal the character of war in twelve chorales. They will be accompanied by heretofore unseen stage illustrations by Hikaru Hayashi (Go Office)and lighting design by Jesper Konshaug, and will be wearing costumes created by Henrik Vibskov, star of Danish avant-garde fashion and winner of the world's greatest design award, the Torsten & Wanja Söderberg Prize.
Along with several internationally renown artists from various countries, a slew of talented names from Latvia are also involved in the project. Working with Gilbert Nouno from France and Great Britain's The Irrepressibles, the performance's musical score has been written by the composer and musicologist, Santa Ratniece. The performers, known as the “sound laboratory” due to the diversity of their vocal arsenal, are the Latvian Radio Choir, directed by Kaspars Putniņš – one of Europe's best professional chamber choirs.
The show's main theme and stage design are based on the influence of Japanese pop-culture comics – manga. The ability of manga characters to transform their identity in certain situations is weaved together in the performance with the idea of how people change when their lives are affected by war. In essence, this multimedia manga opera tells the story of the nature of war – ghosts, superheroes and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The performance is the age-old, never-ending, living story of a fallen soldier, whose unnatural and untimely death doesn't allow his soul to take the peaceful and natural journey from this world to the next; of a captured spy who, while in captivity, transforms herself into a fantasy superhero; and of a soldier, tortured by post-traumatic stress syndrome, whose life is torn apart by a bomb on the battlefield.
To find peace, each of these children of war must tell their story. Taking original Japanese theater plays as a basis, the opera's libretto is performed in Japanese. With the help of a musical compilation consisting of modern-day classical music, pop and Japanese folk music, three different stories are told about the lasting impression of war on a person's life.
After the performances of “War Sum Up” on 2 and 3 September and 16th and 17th Oktober in Riga, the show will travel to the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival at the Oslo Opera House on 8 and 9 September; then on to the Odense Teater in Denmark on 24 and 25 October; to the Music and Stage Art Center in Aarhus on 27 and 28 October; and to the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen on 11 and 12 November.
Latvian National Opera Aspazijas bulv. 3 Riga, Latvia www.opera.lv