Taschenoperfestival Salzburg 2019
Chamber opera “Pray, chuck, come hither” delves into the world of Shakespeare’s Othello , a tragedy filled with complex intercultural storylines and to this day sociologically hot topics, such as blatant misoginy, racism and classism. Shakespeare’s works seem to transcend generation due to their exquisite adaptational flexibility and innate humanness. They sharply describe the archetype of human behavior, which hasn’t changed since the day his works were written, thereby opening an inter-generational dialogue with vast interpretational possibilities. My artistic practise shares the excitement for what is innately human. It deals with and reflects pop-culture, its aesthetic, and its sociopolitical consequences through interdisciplinary and multi-media pieces which draw energy from today’s postdigital / (post)-internet context. This piece, however, draws inspiration from nostalgia and its remains; it builds itself up upon numerous nostalgic references, taken from old-school film adaptations of Othello with Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith, where the blatant usage of blackface doesn’t even begin to startle a conversation about race, to appropriating the ubiquitous TV-commercial ensemble sound from television advertisements in the late 50s and 60s. It reflects upon an era where the real sociological difficulties debated in “Othello” are not only not being discussed in a public discourse, but are deeply woven into the very fabric of western society. In this version, the original text is shortened and used in a hashtag-like form; Othello is not in blackface; he is Iago and Iago is Othello; they exist as two people from the other side of the mirror, sharing their warrior-like nature and innate male privilege that results in violence toward Desdemona. Desdemona, on the other hand, is not portrayed as weak and she, in an abstract way, regains control over her own death.
Due to heavy disagreement with director’s choices to use blackface, I have distanced myself from the staging of this piece.
Premiered at Taschenopernfestival Salzburg by oenm – österreichisches ensemble für neue musik, under the baton of Armando Merino and sung by Sachika Ito and Eberhard Lorenz.