Workshop: Illuminating the Mind. Researching performance; performing research

Illuminating the Mind: researching performance; performing research

A collaboration with The Opera Group’s Future Bodies

18.30-20.30, Monday 26 March 2012

Anatomy Theatre and Museum, King’s College, London

Illuminating the Mind presents the discoveries from a week of performance research by a diverse range of practitioners exploring sensation, disorder, and the relationship between visual and aural aesthetics. The project takes as a case-study an extract of a piece by one of the most significant post-war German composers, Boris Blacher. Trained as an architect before assuming the directorship of the Berlin Academy of Music, Blacher is a composer intimately acquainted with the challenges of audio-visual work. Abstrakte Oper Nr I offers a profound assessment of the operatic genre in the 1950s. Synchronic and non-narrative, the opera combines abstraction with the figurative expressionism of its seven scenes, which chart a cyclic process through a range of emotional experience. Blacher’s emotive essentialism and tonal disorientation combine to express the (dis-)integration of mind and body. Explored through the site-specific venue of KCL’s Anatomy Theatre and Museum, the workshop dissects an ‘anatomy’ of human emotion, where internal and external states are inverted, individual and cultural experiences confused, and sensation performed.

We focus in depth on the second scene of Abstrakte Oper Nr I, ‘Schmerz’, which will be contextualized by responses from three speakers. This is preliminary research for the British première of the opera as part of the Opera Group’s Future Bodies in 2014.

Boris Blacher: Abstrakte Oper Nr I, 1953: ‘schmerz’.

Etoile Chaville, Singer / Dancer

Dan Large, Lighting

Frederic Wake-Walker, Artistic Director

Speakers:

Edward Campbell, University of Aberdeen

Charlotte de Mille, The Courtauld Institute of Art

Frederic Wake-Walker, The Opera Group

Open to all, free admission but numbers are limited. Advance booking online by Friday 23rd March http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/researchforum/calendar.shtml