Music and Concept: Gerhard E. Winkler
Algorithms for composition, interaction and live elektronics
Director: Alexander Löblein
Stage/ Visual Media: Lawrence Wallen
Screen/ Motion Design: Stefan Gandl
Costume Designer: Monika Schübl
Commission by the City of Munich
Co-production: Münchener Biennale with Institut für Musik und Akustik im Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
4 May 2002 at 8 p.m.
5, 6 and 7 May at 8 p.m.
Theater im Haus der Kunst
Length: 70 minutes, no intermission
Publishing rights: Gerhard E. Winkler, Salzburg
What one hears and sees in this interactive opera is based on an easily accessible supply of basic materials, on several symbolic props, on samplers that musically develop sounds, on elements of a score for three singers and three instrumentalists, on a reservoir of images, signs, symbols and colors. On the one hand they will be activated by computer programs, and on the other hand by actions on the stage. A computer program determines the sequence of the seven stories and scenes that the piece is based on. They are not performed in sequence – they are interconnected and come and go in fragments. The stage sets are not constructed, they are created by video projections. What the singers, actors and dancers on stage set in motion determines how the archive of sounds and images will be processed and activated, and which excerpts from the score will be conveyed via computer monitors to the singers and to the musicians at the rear of the stage.
In addition, sensors with different levels of sensitivity, range and modes of function will pick up the action on stage and convey corresponding signals to the computers, which then control the sounds and images. The sensors react to inclinations and movements of hands and arms, to changes in location in the stage area, to the distance, height, depth, speed and force of movements. Thus a play of sounds and tones, of light, color, image, form and figure evolves. Each performance of this technological state-of-the-art gesamtkunstwerk, however, is different, and yet, despite all of the conceivable variations, it still remains the same piece.
The title of the opera refers to the book Heptameron by Margaret of Navarre (1492 – 1549). In her book this Renaissance monarch describes with an almost documentary candor incidents in the eternal game between man and woman involving love, desire, pain and battles. Gerhard E. Winkler chose seven stories from the book – not with the intention of recreating the stories on stage, but to use their basic constellations for the core of an interactive concept where music, scenery, scenic action and lighting are interrelated in a very specific manner. He has reduced the crystallized essences of the stories to short terms, which also served as cues for the stage production and the video projections. Some of the texts that are sung or projected are not taken from the stories by Margaret of Navarre. They are “found material” of various linguistic levels, which were essentially compiled by Gerhard E. Winkler.