Mirror

A multi-media chamber opera for soprano and visual artist

Mirror

Created by
Isabella Stefanescu (artistic director/drawing performer)
Ian Crutchley (composer)
Klaus Engel (interface designer)
Helen Pridmore (soprano)


Mirror is a meditation on the risk each one of us takes when presenting a face to the public. Artist and singer engage in a dialogue via the use of the Euphonopen, which generates sound as the artist draws the soprano. As the singer sees her own image emerging from the artist's pen she confronts various reflections, or mirrors, of herself — visual, aural and electronic. Her responses to these mirrors become a layered, multi-media discussion with the artist. Singer and artist collaborate to present a complex, interwoven conversation about themselves and their art.

Mirror imageMirror image

Mirror Premiere, June 2014 - Trailer

MIRROR was premiered on June 14, 2014 at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener, Ontario, for Open Ears Festival of Sound and Music.

MIRROR was created at Inter Arts Matrix by:
Isabella Stefanescu, - artistic director & Euphonopen sound
Klaus Engel - machine design
Helen Pridmore – soprano & vocal music
Julia Aplin – director & choreographer
Anne-Marie Donovan – producer
With
Ian Crutchley – composer/advisor
Edward Cho – software assistant

Performance credits:

Isabella Stefanescu – painter
Helen Pridmore – soprano
Julia Aplin – director & choreographer
Isabella Stefanescu – art director & set design
Scott Spidell – light design
Klaus Engel – interface design
Selin Erkaya– stage manager
Cody Burns – technical crew
Anne-Marie Donovan – producer & artistic director, Inter Arts Matrix

Special thanks to: Cheryl Ewing, Katie Honek, Jill Tomasson-Goodwin, David Goodwin, Douglas Caverly, Allan Hoch, Jennifer Janik, Gil Lesperance, Natalie Mero, Katharine Mills, Gregory Oh, Janelle Rainville, Nicholas Rees, Nathan Saliwonchyk, Linda Catlin Smith, Diane Williams, MT Space, Neruda Arts.

Program Notes:

MIRROR is a piece in which the performers “do” rather than “show” or “tell” – the singer signs, the painter paints, and little else happens. It is really live live theatre, created anew in every performance, and it carries the risk that some of the things made will fail - in public. I know I have to wrestle with every drawing, and sometimes the drawing defeats me. But that too, is part of the piece.

In MIRROR I use the Euphonopen, an instrument, or rather an assemblage of hardware and software, that generates or manipulates sound to expresses the movements of the drawing hand. The Euphonopen was inspired by my drawing in public places, where often a small group of people would gather behind me, to watch a drawing evolve. To keep my concentration I used to hum under my breath. This worked well, and when I finished the drawing and I looked up, I was somewhat surprised to see that some of my audience was still there.

MIRROR is neither a concert, nor a play, nor an opera; it is neither a reality show, nor pure performance art. We are working at the intersections of disciplines and genres. If MIRROR has a structure, it is that of life drawing session. There is no life drawing without a model, and there would be no MIRROR without Helen Pridmore, the splendid new music vocalist, whose voice, live or processed, is at the heart of this work. The structure of MIRROR was developed in collaboration with composer Ian Crudchley. Julia Aplin took this life drawing session and shaped it for the stage.

MIRROR is dedicated to the memory of Virgil Burnett (1928-2012), who taught me to draw.

Isabella Stefanescu
June 14, 2014