whisper opera

The setting:  Four stages separated by semi-translucent lace curtains. Each stage contains one instrument besides a hanging big drum and a cymbal. The audience (max. 48) is divided in 8 x 6 people and seated in between the four stages so that each group of people can only see one stage.

The beginning: four musicians on the four different stages start playing the cymbals by, for example, turning them around and around; the sound is barely audible. After a while, they start whispering short textual fragments in a polyphonic style.

The middle: a beautiful musical conversation between flute and clarinet. It is almost impossible to distinguish which sound is coming from which instrument. They interact as a kind of echoing.

The end: the loudest part of the piece, though still really soft – an affecting aria (the first and only time the female vocalist really sings), accompanied by cello, clarinet, flute, and keyboard. The ending is quite abrupt.

David Lang’s Whispering Opera. Fantastic!