Opera Creation enoa lab #2 : bone conduction and staging

I’ve just spent a few days in Northumbria workshopping the bone conduction headphones for my opera that I’m in the process of writing. I’m writing it in collaboration with a scenographer and librettist / stage director. The creation process is funded by the European Network of Opera Academies (enoa) and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

I talk in depth about the creation process (from my composer’s point of view) on my YouTube channel, which you can view here: YouTube.com/AlannahMarie.

The two videos that explore this bone conduction / scenography workshop in particular are here and here. Below is a thumbnail of the bone conduction video, within which you can see me exploring the bone conduction headphones and figuring out what sort of music would work best in terms of writing this opera.

Exploring Bone Conduction Headphones

Below is a gallery of some of the things we got up to during the workshop. As you can see, we blocked the scenes and explored the lighting. All photography and lighting below is by our scenographer Dr Rachel Hann.

Here are some edits Dr Rachel Hann made in post. These pictures demonstrate what we want to achieve in the visual aspect of the opera, including the blends of lighting. we’re also going to try and project the protagonist’s phone screen onto some rectangular shapes so that the audience can see the influence of social media on the narrative. The rectangle shapes are important in this opera and offer a contract to the more amorphous ‘smokey’ atmospheres we’re incorporating. Rectangles can be reused as toilet-cubicle doors, dining tables, catwalks. I talk about this aspect in more depth in this video.

For more information about my opera-writing process, you can view my playlist dedicated to this topic on my YouTube channel. This playlist can be found here.

For a related post on this topic, read about our first enoa lab at the Gulbenkian Foundation here.

You can read about this opera project on the enoa website here, also quoted below:

Queering Opera is a joyous project aiming to depict queer (LGBTQ+) experiences through opera, and to do so queerly. Its source material is real-life stories, collected ethnographically; the compositional, staging and design processes are multistylistic, conceived to challenge traditional models of expression and spectatorship. Diversity and representation are ensured through a rich network of collaborations, with a particular focus on ungendering voice and on the possibilities offered by trans voices.

Creative team:

Jorge Balça – theatre & opera director / academic

Alannah Marie Halay – composer / academic

Rachel Hann – designer / academic


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