Alternative opera makes Seoul debutChamber Made Opera challenges traditional notions of opera. Visual theater, multimedia, physical theater, circus and puppetry are among the languages that this Australian-based company draws upon. Past performances have been lauded as powerful, controversial and exciting.
Through the efforts of Interstage Arts Management, Chamber is presenting a piece in Korea titled “Recital.” This revival is part of a celebration of the company’s 15th anniversary.
A hybrid of opera and theater, it stars Helen Noonan as (at times) a fading diva and (at times) a ghost haunting the opera. This ghost relives past glories as an artist and as a woman. Interwoven in the dialogue are 10 famous arias, including “Mi Chiano Mimi” from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” “Porgi Amor” from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Habanera” from Bizet’s “Carmen,” with original compositions by David Chesworth. Noonan, who has in the past performed several roles with Chamber Made Opera, will be touring Korea along with five other members of the Opera.
The Age, a Melbourne-based publication, called “Recital” “an original and haunting piece of music theater which adds a touch of real distinction to the (Melbourne Fringe) festival program.”
Today, Chamber is one of Australia’s leading music theater companies, and has commissioned or performed more then 30 works. Pieces like “Phobia,” a performance art piece inspired by Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” and “Sweet Death,” based on Claude Tardat’s novel “La Morte Sucree,” about a fiercely independent woman who gorges herself on pastries in a bid to denounce popular notions of femininity, have given rise to the acclaim.
The vision of the founder and artistic director, Douglas Horton, to create innovative opera has meant that the company engages the skills of performers from different disciplines, as well as “non-traditional” music and performance backgrounds. Awarded the Age Performing Art Award in 1995, the company has toured internationally, including the International Theater Festival in Caracas, Venezuela, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Covent Garden Opera Festival. They will be in Korea for performances March 19 to 21 at Yongang Hall in central Seoul, March 24 and 25 at Daegu Culture and Arts Center and March 27 and 28 at Busan Kyungsung Unviersity Concert Hall.
by Joe Yong-hee
For more information, visit the Web site www.isamkorea.com, or call (02) 2272-1088. Tickets in Seoul are 30,000 to 40,000 won.