Sandy Alters Plans for Climate-Change Opera
UPDATE, MONDAY, 11:10 a.m.: The opera is still on, but the Charlottesville performance sites will not be admitting viewers. According to an announcement from the organizers, “People can watch live from the comfort and safety of their homes; details at www.auksalaq.org.”
A week ago, we wrote about “Auksalaq,” music professor Matthew Burtner’s innovative and challenging new Internet production that was to be staged simultaneously by performers at several sites around the world. (There was a good story about it on WVTF.)
The premiere is scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. EST — when, of course, the entire East Coast is supposed to be under siege by a major storm. The ironic part: The opera is about climate change.
Anyway, Sandy has altered some plans, but the show is going on. After the break, here’s what the organizers are saying as of Sunday afternoon:
“Auksalaq” is an interactive, multi-site, opera about climate change by composer Matthew Burtner and media artist Scott Deal. The premier performance was intended to be distributed between networked venues in Norway, Montreal, Alaska, New York, Indianapolis, Washington DC and Charlottesville. But as of Sunday October 28th Hurricane Sandy is rushing towards the Northeast US, causing officials to declare states of emergency, business closures, and rerouting of transportation. “Auksalaq”‘s international premier is also feeling the effects of the so-called Frankenstorm. One of our primary venues, the Smithsonian Phillips Collection, has been forced to cancel their participation due to the extreme weather forecast and government warnings. But as they say in opera, “the show must go on!” The newly formed EcoSono Ensemble was to play at The Phillips Collection, but in an effort to save the performance i will relocate to Charlottesville VA, to perform at OpenGrounds at the University of Virginia.
In response to the physical challenges cause by the storm, the premiere of “Auksalaq” will now be streamed worldwide. To watch the real-time broadcast join us at http://www.auksalaq.org on Monday 10/29/12 at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and select a streaming option. The producers will offer a choice of options for different venue sizes and network bandwidth capabilities. The links will go live just before our performance, which begins at 5 p.m. on Monday.
“Auksalaq” composer Matthew Burtner wrote to the ensemble and tech team. “We live in a time of catastrophic cl;imate shifts and it is increasingly the case that weather will disrupt events around the world. If anything, this cancellation of our venue makes the point of ‘Auksalaq’ more present and powerful. We should continue to go forward to the limits of our ability and safety.” And “Auksalaq” producer Scott Deal wrote in an email to the Phillips Collection: “I cannot help but see the irony of this event … an opera performance on climate change affected by a physical characteristic that scientists have been warning us about for years: increasingly erratic and violent weather. A prophetic birth if there ever was one.”