For its twenty-fifth anniversary, the Académie du Festival d’Aix is reaffirming its commitment to creation in opera by implementing the Experimentation Residency, a professional residency programme devoted to research and development.
The Experimentation Residency hosts artists from various backgrounds whose practices encompass a range of aesthetics. By providing optimal conditions to support experimentation in innovative and multidisciplinary artistic projects, the Académie’s new programme meets the specific needs of the sector: breaking down barriers in the creative process and having the time to create.
In 2023, twenty-two artists are benefitting from a supportive, and remunerated, work environment for the research and development of three multidisciplinary creative projects: Capot by British stage director and librettist TD Moyo, Don Quichotte Bauschgefühl by author and multidisciplinary artist Julie Hega, and Gay Guerrilla by the American artist duo Gerard & Kelly.
Chosen among projects presented in 2022 by former artists of the Académie or through enoa’s Opera Creation Journey open call, these three projects were selected based on several criteria: creation of a musical work that breaks down barriers; the originality of the story; an innovative format; and a principle of collective creation, in which the creators and performers are involved to varying degrees in each step of the research and development process.
As part of the Experimentation Residency developed at the heart of the Festival d’Aix, these three projects will enjoy a dedicated workspace, technical and production support, the professional commitment of all participants, and the artistic expertise of the Festival. At the end of the residency, the projects will be presented before a professional audience during the Opera Makers sessions of the Professional Days at the Festival d’Aix.
Capot/Casper’s is an opera exploring the relationship between two black men who happen to be cousins. It is an opera of their love, devotion and dreams, and what happens to them when come into contact with deadly caspers. Capot/Casper’s is a multi-genre exploration of race, class and dreams using opera and spoken word to explore brotherhood and dreams.
TD Moyo (United Kingdom) — Stage director
Renell Shaw (United Kingdom) — Composer
Mateus Daniel (United Kingdom) — Movement director and lead role
Themba Mvula (United Kingdom) — Singer
April Koyejo-Audiger (United Kingdom) — Co-librettist and composer
Germma Orleans-Thompson (United Kingdom) – Producer
Alisha Artry (United Kingdom) – Producer
DON QUICHOTTE BAUCHGEFÜL
‘DON QUICHOTTE Bauchgefül is a matrix, a scorching adaptation of Cervantes’ novel, or rather a labyrinth made of intuitions that serve to create a multidimensional work in which you can lose, and then perhaps find, yourself, there, in the fragmented spaces of History and of its memory, connected to the world: facing yourself.
Through my research I pose but a single question: what should we make of our existences if not an absolute quest for life?
I am interested only in the impossible, and it is the full focus of my attention. To live and share this possible impossible through the creation of a bold plural form that supports my discourse consciously: a filmopera. Completely a film, entirely an opera. Resolutely neither one nor the other.’
Amy Crankshaw (South Africa) — Composer
Marie-Pascale Dubé (France) — Singer
Julie Hega (France) — Stage director and author
Juliette Lamour (France) — Assistant to the stage director
Emmanuel Olivier (France) — Playwright and pianist
Sophye Soliveau (France) — Singer and harpist
Alexis Paul (France) — Musicologist
Gay Guerrilla (2023) explores the legacy of the Afro-American queer composer Julius Eastman (1940–1990) through dance, music and architecture. By channelling Eastman’s unique voice, Gerard & Kelly continue his practice, incorporating abstraction and politics in an installation brought to life by a series of performances developed specifically for the Centre Pompidou’s Gallery 3.
Eastman imbued a passion for political engagement into his musical experimentalism, proclaiming himself to be ‘Black to the fullest, musician to the fullest, homosexual to the fullest’. The duo Gerard & Kelly reimagines Gallery 3 as a minimalist discotheque, featuring new neon and metal sculptures, and monotypes on paper.
Written by Eastman a decade after the Stonewall riots, Gay Guerrilla (1979) calls upon performers and listeners to join the Queer Liberation Movement. Gerard & Kelly create a new performance, also titled Gay Guerrilla, in conjunction with American musicians from the Wild Up and the AMOC ensembles; opera singer Davóne Tines; performer Soa de Muse; and ballet dancers from the Opéra national de Paris, including the stars Guillaume Diop and Germain Louvet.
In partnership with Opéra national de Paris
Production: & Compagnie
Coproduction: Centre Pompidou ; Festival d’Aix-en-Provence with the support of enoa and programme Europe créative de l’Union européenne ; AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company)
With the support of DRAC Île-de-France et Adidas Paris
With the participation of Centre LGBTQI+ Paris Île-de-France
Residency: CND, Centre national de la danse (Pantin); Yamaha Artists Services (New York)
Music reproduced with the permission of G. Schirmer, Inc.
Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery
Gerard & Kelly (United States) — concept and stage directors
Julius Eastman (United States) - Music
Simon de Dreuille (France) - Set design collaborator
Julia Eichten* (United States) - Choreographic assistant
Camille Assaf (France) - Costumes
David Debrinay (France) - Lighting
Vincent Brou (France) - Production manager
Samuel Akins+ (United States) - Dancer
Soa de Muse (France) - Performer
Guillaume Diop+ (France) - Dancer
Conor Hanick* (United States) - Piano
Coleman Itzkoff* (United States) - Cello
Awa Joannais+ (United States) - Dancer
Germain Louvet+ (France) - Dancer
Adam Tendler (United States) - Piano
Davóne Tines* (United States) – Bass-baritone
Richard Valitutto (United States) - Piano
Seth Parker Woods (United States) - Cello
+ from the Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
* Founder member of AMOC*
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