Eros and Thanatos

Eros and Thanatos

Photo by Slavisa Drobnjaković

Eros and Thanatos

Scenario & Direction: Slavisa Drobnjakovic

“Eros and Thanatos” is a love story based in an asylum center, a particular kind of limbo realm where the temporal dimension of past and present intertwine and gradually disappear, reducing the individual to nothing but their life force. A grotesque exemplar, a trivialization of the Freudian concept of Eros and Thanatos.

The story follows a young couple arriving at an Asylum center. Naively convinced that this is going to be just a short episode before the promised life in Europe, the images of the agonized people around them seem to easily pass them by. Days transform into months and months to years. They’ll try to run away before they lose their minds.

 

www.slavisadrobnjakovic.com


After that it happened

After that it happened

Photo by Slavisa Drobnjaković

AFTER THAT IT HAPPENED

By Nancy Black and Constantine Koukias

The world appears as a complicated tissue of events, in which connections of different kinds alternate or overlap or combine and thereby determine the texture of the whole.
– Werner Heisenberg

 

AFTER THAT IT HAPPENED follows four people who live in disparate parts of the globe in different eras, and never meet. Their choices and actions, however, are profoundly inter-connected, however, as each grapples with a life-changing decision. We propose a universe where past, present and future occupy the same moment, and individual actions resonate across space.

 

Creative Team
Direction & Libretto – Nancy Black
Music – Constantine Koukias
Scenography – Slavisa Drobnjaković & Constantine Koukias
Projection & Sound Design – Mik Lavage
Animated Object Design – Hamish Fletcher

Netherlands & US Cast
Inez Timmer – Voice (role of Michelle)
Judith Weusten – Soprano (role of Robyn)
Ben Le Clair – Bass (role of Theodore)
Ilija Surla – Actor (role of Sergei)

The personal dilemmas affecting the characters touch on major contemporary concerns from politics to mental illness to the search for vaccines. The action, llibretto, music and scenography weave a three-dimensional circular tapestry of connections between the characters Each is torn by conflicting emotions, capable of both good and evil. Time is warped – their trajectories last from a few hours to five years. Each of their stories finishes a few days before Christmas.

Using a fully orchestrated, pre-recorded music score (no live instruments), with 3 voices sung and 1 spoken, we will counterpoint musical genres and styles, creating dynamic threads through the work.

Characters
Sergei (spoken, not sung), a Serbian writer in 1981, has gone into hiding in Frankfurt because his exposé about Slobodan Milosevic’s rise to power has created a furore, and his life is threatened. His publisher wants him in NY. The book is sensational. Nevertheless. he is plagued by fear, self-doubt, and guilt for what he has done to his family. He thinks he’ll be killed if he goes outside. The opera follows him from June until December when he makes up his mind.

In 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII, Robyn (soprano) lands a job in a Melbourne textile store. She’s thrilled because she had not been able to find a job during the Depression. Naïve at first, she quickly learns to charm, bribe and fool almost anyone as the war progresses, but finds herself flummoxed by her sister who is mentally ill and needs her. Does she stop working and look after her? We follow her from 1939 to the end of the war in 1945.

Theodore (bass baritone), a primary school teacher in rural Pennsylvania in late December 1880, apparently loves both the world of the intellect and his students – but gradually we learn he’s just been fired. His world and self-definition have fallen apart. He struggles to find new meaning and a place in the world. We follow him for a week.

Michelle (mezzo) heads a team of scientists working for a pharmaceutical company in France in 2019. They have discovered a way to prevent malaria, and the company wants to announce their findings that night. Her trajectory covers only a few hours.

Resolution
Sergei gradually emerges from his fear and self-doubt, boards Pan Am flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, which explodes over Lockerbie on December 21, 1981.

Robyn morphs from a happy innocent into a charming, manipulative, successful and self-obsessed woman. She delights in manipulating her customers, develops methods for shutting the war out, and tries similar ways to block her sister. They don’t work. The sister kills herself a few days before Christmas. Robyn has to change.

Theodore, seemingly gracious, intellectual, and generous, decides he wants to give his school a Christmas gift – something by which he’ll always be remembered. We discover he has been fired because, he thinks, the school’s headmistress decided to replace him with a woman. In fact, although women were moving into the education system at the time, he reveals dark and volatile aspects of himself that suggest why the headmistress took action. He decides to build for them a model of the schoolhouse – and give it to them at the Christmas concert. When they lift the roof off to peer inside, it will explode and kill them all.

Michelle will end the opera. Throughout she wants to avoid her problem, diverts herself through other things, deflects the CEO of the company, and wrestles with her angst. We learn that she has just had confirmation that their “product, their wonderful discovery, will obliterate the insect population of the world, and eventually wipe out mankind. Does she admit that, stop the operation, or allow it to progress, and find a solution before doomsday? She has to choose.

The opera is dark, but the libretto is laced with humour and tenderness as well. Each character will have his/her own space in the set, but there are also times when they cross through one another’s spaces, transforming the space into a street, a corridor, another room. They sense but don’t see the characters around them.

Duration: approximately 1 hr 15.

Nancy Black

Nancy Black

Direction & Libretto

Black Hole Theatre’s Artistic Director Nancy Black has created and directed award winning shows, produced festivals, outdoor performances, operas, and ten Puppet Slams.  A passionate advocate for Australian puppetry, she has worked tirelessly to develop local, national and international opportunities for Black Hole Theatre, emerging and experienced artists, and independent companies.  Since 2004 work includes: Caravan (Green Room Award, internat’l tour), Coop(Green Room awards), Hutch, Into the Black Hole, 10 puppet slams around Victoria and NSW, Les Méduses (int’l tour), Blind with the Duda Paiva Co (NL) – Green Room nomination, international tour, workshops and developments.  2017 The Book of Revelations. 2018 development of The Line, tour of Blind to USA. 2019 Development of Vault, Listen Up! with the Natimuk community, presentation of Last Lighthouse Keeper, early work on After That It Happened with Foundation IHOS Amsterdam. 2020: online workshops 5 6 7 Create!, short film rEvolvn with 12 artists.

In 2014 she instigated and co-ordinated the professional skills program Fermenting Change. For the Victorian Opera: 2012 What Next?, Master Peter’s Puppet Show, 2016 Four Saints in Three Acts, 2017 Sleeping Beauty. For BIFEM 2016: ###Nude Girls Live!!!  2017 The Gate to Pardise – for the Chinese company One Tree. 2007 She co-produced the Festival of Australian Theatre in China taking 5 theatre companies to Beijing and Shanghai.


Slavisa Drobnjakovic

Slavisa Drobnjaković

Scenography

Slavisa Drobnjaković commenced his acting studies in classical theatre at the age of fourteen in Yugoslavia. Further study took him to the Art Academy and Cultural Anthropology in Belgrade. After moving to Amsterdam in 2001, he has been involved as a performance artist at Das Arts Amsterdam and Amsterdam Cyber Theatre and other artistic collaborations.

He has written several commercial scripts for ComradFilm in Slovenia and worked as a creative assistant on the films of Heidi Vogels and theatre director Boris Todorovic. In recent years, Slavisa dedicates himself entirely to film and works for the stage. He has been engaged as a writer/ director for Sluizer Film Productions for two long features:

       “The Tragic Death of Branka Djukic” follows the painful process within one highlander family, from the moment of the mysterious murder of their daughter to the act of revenge itself. In the development of the story there lie human instincts and irrationalities as catalysts to all further events.”

       “The Waste Land” is the frame tale of a man who tries to escape his homeland and his fate. Historiographic metafiction set in 1923, in the time of the first publishing of T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name.”

For the stage, he is co-designing a new chamber opera for Nancy Black, for Black Hole Theatre based in Australia. For Foundation IHOS Amsterdam he has written and directed the film sequences for “A Deep Black Sleep”, a chamber opera for solo tenor and six masked musicians. Two short films “Eros and Thanatos” and “The Pain of Others” by Slavisa Drobnjakovic are planned for release in 2021.

       “Eros and Thanatos” is a love story based in an asylum centre, a particular kind of limbo realm where the temporal dimension of past and present intertwine and gradually disappear, reducing the individual to nothing but their life force. A grotesque exemplar, a trivialisation of the Freudian concept of Eros and Thanatos.”


Constantine Koukias

Scenography

Constantine Koukias is a Greek-Tasmanian composer and opera director based in Amsterdam. His avant-garde approach to opera has resulted in hybrid productions such as Days and Nights with Christ, To Traverse Water, MIKROVION (Small Life – 36 Images in a Phantom Flux of Life), The Divine Kiss, and Tesla – Lightning in His Hand. His most recent large-scale work The Barbarians, inspired by Constantine Cavafy’s famous poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art.

His works range from large-scale music-theatre and opera to mobile installation-art events. His compositions have earned acclaim as remarkable for their mesmerising, atmospheric qualities and production designs.

In 1993, he was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House Trust to compose ICON, a large-scale music-theatre piece, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.

Additional theatre works include Kimisis – Falling AsleepBordersOrfeo, Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, Antigone and The Da Ponte Project. Prayer Bells, which draws on traditions of Latin, Hebrew and Byzantine chant, had its USA premiere at the Chicago Cultural Centre.

In 2004, he was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship. His Incantation II for soprano and digital delay won the International Valentino Bucchi Vocal Prize in Rome in 1997. His design credits include the internationally acclaimed Odyssey and Medea.

In 2014-15, Kimisis – Falling Asleep, a chamber opera for soprano and electric trombone, had its Netherlands premiere at Splendor Amsterdam and later toured to the Karavaan Festival.


Mik Lavage

Projection & Sound Design

Mik Lavage is an Australian sound and vision designer, composer, and musician. Working on stage and screen, Mik has been nominated for AFI awards (screen) and worked on shows nominated for the Helpmann Awards (stage).

Mik has collaborated with a broad range of artists and companies from the ancient Greek leanings of IHOS to the acrobatic worlds of The Tom Tom Crew, Company 2, and Strange Fruit, and has performed worldwide in Melbourne, Munich, Montreal, Detroit, Paris, and Taipei, among other locations. He currently tours globally with The Orkestra of the Underground, Company 2, IHOS, Hermitude, and Toni Childs working as a sound designer, a musical performer, and a designer of interactive visual elements.

Mik is also a graduate of AFTRS (Australian Film, Television & Radio School) in music composition for film, and has produced numerous albums as a solo artist as well as with Toni Childs. His music has been featured in many dance, theatre, and film productions that range from political documentary to feature film.


Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher

Animated Object Design

Hamish is a versatile designer, performer and theatre maker focussing mostly on visual theatre. He has a Masters in theatre (Puppetry) from Victorian College of the Arts(Australia) and has also trained under Philipe Genty, Mary Underwood, Duda Paiva, Laura Sheedy and Peter Wilson. Hamish has worked extensively in theatre, television and cross art forms.  He has collaborated and worked on a range of productions for ABC televisionSticky PicturesSuper Studios and companies Windmill Theatre, Arena Theatre, Victorian Opera, Men of Steel, MIFF and Circus Oz as well as countless small and experimental projects.

He has toured work over 25 cities worldwide including to China, Japan, Malaysia, The UK, Ireland, USA, Singapore, Portugal and Canada. He has won Best Host at Kidscreen 2012 as Hoot The Owl for ABC and Festival Directors award as part of Men of Steel at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  He is currently developing an experimental theatre/IRL game called Money = Happiness along with some ground-breaking work with Jeff Achtem and Bunk Puppets.



The Pain of Others

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The Pain of Others

A short film by Slavisa Drobnjakovic
Based on a true story

In a time and place where therapists, life coaches and spiritual advisers are not commonly found, Mira devotes her time to those in need. Her apartment becomes a revolving door for many distraught and hopeless visitors. But one unexpected guest, a survivor of the Holocaust, is about to challenge her life.

Pavle Minh recalls the day when he was incarcerated by the Nazi’s arresting a group of gypsy musicians. The Germans smashed all their instruments, trampled them, and made one big fire of them. 60 years later, Pavle is still huanted by the memory of a performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville being played by gypsy musicians in the concentration camp. What Mira does not understand is the effect this story will have on her son.

 

Creative Team

Writer / Director – Slavisa Drobnjaković
Cinematography – Aleksandar Mijailović
Editor – Sophia Ralston
Assistant Director– Boris Todorović
Sound Design – Nina Bjelajać
Location Liaison – Ivana Bozić

Slavisa Drobnjakovic

Slavisa Drobnjaković

Writer / Director

Slavisa Drobnjaković commenced his acting studies in classical theatre at the age of fourteen in Yugoslavia. Further study took him to the Art Academy and Cultural Anthropology in Belgrade. After moving to Amsterdam in 2001, he has been involved as a performance artist at Das Arts Amsterdam and Amsterdam Cyber Theatre and other artistic collaborations.

He has written several commercial scripts for ComradFilm in Slovenia and worked as a creative assistant on the films of Heidi Vogels and theatre director Boris Todorovic. In recent years, Slavisa dedicates himself entirely to film and works for the stage. He has been engaged as a writer/ director for Sluizer Film Productions for two long features:

       “The Tragic Death of Branka Djukic” follows the painful process within one highlander family, from the moment of the mysterious murder of their daughter to the act of revenge itself. In the development of the story there lie human instincts and irrationalities as catalysts to all further events.”

       “The Waste Land” is the frame tale of a man who tries to escape his homeland and his fate. Historiographic metafiction set in 1923, in the time of the first publishing of T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name.”

For the stage, he is co-designing a new chamber opera for Nancy Black, for Black Hole Theatre based in Australia. For Foundation IHOS Amsterdam he has written and directed the film sequences for “A Deep Black Sleep”, a chamber opera for solo tenor and six masked musicians. Two short films “Eros and Thanatos” and “The Pain of Others” by Slavisa Drobnjakovic are planned for release in 2021.

       “Eros and Thanatos” is a love story based in an asylum centre, a particular kind of limbo realm where the temporal dimension of past and present intertwine and gradually disappear, reducing the individual to nothing but their life force. A grotesque exemplar, a trivialisation of the Freudian concept of Eros and Thanatos.”


Aleksandar Mijailović

Cinematographer

Aleksandar Mijailović was born in Užice, Yugoslavia, in 1976. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and Master Degree in Motion Picture & TV from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade. He is a Member of UFUS – The Association of Film Artists of Serbia.

He has over 15 years experience in the field of film production, making documentary, fiction, corporate, and music videos, and over 20 years on numerous of television programs as the camerman and director of photography. Among his many programs are Road to Agartha (2020) – a feature-length documentary filmed in Southeast Asia, and Super Heroes of Media Literacy (2020) – a feature TV series over 18 episodes for young people on the topic of media literacy in the 21st century for. National Television of Serbia.

On the Right Track (2019), Young Minds of Serbia (2019), BURN (2018), and Controindicazione (2016) are four of a large number of documentary reports for the non-governmental sectors, such as the  United Nations, Red Cross, USAID and SeConS.

In addition to feature and documentary films, he often works as a videographer in the field of music. He has recorded and directed several music videos, both for classical and jazz music and for alternative rock bands.

In 2019 he was the Director of Photography for the opera A Deep Black Sleep, produced by Foundation IHOS Amsterdam. He has also had a long-term collaboration with the Opera & Theatre Madlenianum in Belgrade for several years.


Sophia Ralston

Editor

Sophia Ralston, was born in Sydney, Australia in 1998 and grew up in Zurich, Switzerland with German Nationality, where she graduated with a matriculation certificate on a music path in Cello in 2016.

She became interested in filmmaking after writing, producing, directing and editing her first short film for her awarded graduation project “Roller Coaster through the Clouds – a short film about ADHD”. Since then she has been based in Zurich, Basel, London and Germany where she continued making short films.

Sophia took part in film challenges and courses in Zurich and Germany before moving to London where she was enrolled at the Met Film School for a part time course in acting for film, and gained work experience at Working Title Films. For the past two years, she has been living and working in Switzerland, working in the Swiss film and television industry amongst others at the Gässli Film Festival in Basel (as a video-editor/social media intern), and as an assistant director, extras coordinator and/or production assistant for films and television such as the SRF series “Der Bestatter”, “Frieden” and “Wilder”, and feature films “Spagat”, “Stürm”, as well as many others.

Currently, her most recent film “The Red World” a short film written, produced, directed, and edited by Sophia is running on several national and international film festivals and has received a number of nominations and awards among others for best science fiction short film and best visual effects.


Boris Todorović

Assistant Director

Boris Todorović, is a Serbian director working for theatre, radio, TV and film. After completing his degree in English and Literature at The Faculty of Philology in Pristina, he took his BA in Theatre and radio directing at the renowned Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade.

During his training, he worked professionally for theatres in Serbia, Bulgaria and France. To date he has directed thirteen theatre performances based on contemporary Serbian and international authors, among which, Mansard by Danilo Kiš, Hyperbolic Paraboloidby Milica Konstantinovic, Wolve’s Pit by Miomir Petrović, Sava-Raka-Tinu by Jelena Lukić, In the Jungle of the Cities by Brecht, So it is (If you Think So) by Pirandello, stand out as clear examples of his ecclectic style.  

He has produced radio dramas for Radio Beograd 2. His productionss have toured successfully in Serbia and abroad, and some have taken part in national and international festivals to high critical accliam.

Though active in all theatrical genres and styles, from classical, through puppetry, to ambiental theatre, he has always cherished a passion for TV and movie directing. In film, he has worked in various capacities, as a script doctor, 2nd AD (TV Series: God Forbid! – PANIKAFILM Belgrade 2015), 1st AD (Some Better People – PFI Studios, Belgrade 2020), Second unit director – editor.

 Between 2005 to 2007 he worked as a project manager and Artistic Director of Open Arc Theatre in Užice where he took part in establishing and developing an open air theatre festival. From 2012 to 2015 he was the General Manager of The City Cultural Center, in Užice (Serbia).


Hypnos

Photo by Laurent Muller

Hypnos

A new music-theatre work in development for voice and electric trombone
By Laurent Muller, Elise Lorraine, and Constantine Koukias

An operatic dreamworld collides with the urban-dance scene.

A new music-theatre work in development

Voice – Elise Lorraine
Electric Trombone – Matthias Konrad
Creative Director / Text – Laurent Muller
Music – Constantine Koukias
Sound Design – Anna Lindblad
Technical Design – Ivan Paitre
Lighting Consultant – James Haslam

In Hypnos, a DJ interacts with live voice and electric trombone, dancing between classical mythology and contemporary day-to-day living. This dialogue promises to attract a diverse audience, ranging from followers of contemporary performance art to the urban-dance scene.

A modern take on the myth of the famous god of Sleep, it unfolds as a power-play between the god and his wife, Pasithea, the goddess of night’s activities.

We see and hear these two powerful characters fight their way towards some sense of balance—perhaps even equality—in their positions both within their relationship with each other and to mankind as a whole. They contend with the extremes of love and lust, personal ambition and servitude, violence and harmony, and seek commonality in their shared passion for the quixotic dreamworld over which they rule—all with a cheeky twist on the news and other goings-on in our world today.

Elise Lorraine

Voice

Elise Lorraine has been a specialist of contemporary vocal music since her student days at the RAM, then later at York University where she co-founded the new music ensemble Tactus, singing the music of Berio (Sinfonia, The Folksongs), Dallapicola, and Hoyland.

The warmth and clarity of her voice has inspired many composers to write for her over the years. She has sung with UK-based new music groups such as Ixion, the Latham-Koenig Ensemble, The Lost Jockey, and vocal music-theatre group Vocum, and has been a free improvisor with AMM (Irma by Tom Philips), Phil Minton, and Veryan Weston.

In Amsterdam, she formed the trio Zivatar, comprised of voice, flute, and cimbalon, and commissioned pieces from composers such as Michael Finnissy, Calliope Toupaki, David Dramm, and Jannis Kyriakides.

Elise has performed around the Netherlands and at European festivals with Harry de Wit, co-creating music-theatre pieces as such Blanco, and also improvising with musicians such a ssHan Benninck and Ab Baars.

Recently re-established in London, Elise works with a new generation of musicians who cross the borders between new music and improvisation, including Guy Harries and Lore Lixenberg. She runs vocal workshops, such the Sicilian festival Rara and Oooo, and is frequently heard in London’s many jazz venues.

In 2018, she performed “They’re Playing Out Songs,” written by her brother, the composer Ross Lorraine, and returned to the Netherlands for a revival of the 2011 opera Eise by Marco Kalkman.

Her vocal performance always tells a story, be it in modern opera, free vocal improvisation, her one-woman show, or a simple jazz standard.


Matthias Konrad

Electric Trombone

The Amsterdam-based trombonist Matthias Konrad has developed his musical talents from his early youth. First on the piano and then on the trombone, he has become an experienced and much sought-after musician. During his studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, he became a member of the German BuJazzO, led by Peter Herbolzheimer. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he established himself with various Dutch and international groups such as Tetzepi, Bernie’s Lounge, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Mathilde Santing. Matthias then moved to New York to develop further his musical skills with renowned performers such as Robin Eubanks, Kenny Werner, and Brian Lynch.

During this period, he recorded with both Werner and Lynch and played on a number of challenging stages including the famous Blue Note. Back in Amsterdam, he has become a regular member of Tetzepi, the Konrad Koselleck Big Band, the Toro Ensemble, and SoWhat. In addition, his work as a freelance trombonist includes studio sessions and concerts with De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, The Kik, Mathilde Santing, Ellen ten Damme, La Inda, Ruben Hein, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Marieke Jager, Tiny Little Big Bang and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Very Next, and Lilian Hak.

Laurent Muller

Creative Director and Text

Laurent Muller is often described as multitalented and a Renaissance man, but he considers it unsurprising that in twenty-first century Europe, where one can live and travel freely, young artists should also feel free to cross borders of genre and form.

After studying piano and applied arts in Marseille, Laurent was selected for the National School of Design (ENSCI–Les Ateliers) in Paris at the age of 17.

He lived and worked in various cities including Paris, New York, Valetta, London, and Amsterdam, where he exhibited both as an abstract painter and as a designer before creating his own brand of sculpture-furniture in 2013. In addition, Laurent explored both psychotherapy and shamanism during his London years, when he was involved in the world of opera, meeting great musicians and conductors.

Laurent constantly uses artist’s notebooks to keep track of his thoughts and ideas, and he uses lateral thinking to express his questions on societal and human behaviours. Objects and compositions can reflect his analysis of these behaviours, which he sees as part of an exchange—a complex communion involving sexual tension between civilised human beings. As a growing militant for the equality of human rights, he sees writing currently taking a large place in his life and considers it as a tool of infinite potential in colours, thoughts, and emotions.

In addition to Hypnos, Laurent is also writing another libretto based on the discovery and sharing of one’s dark side.


Constantine Koukias

Mise-en-scène

Constantine Koukias is a Greek-Tasmanian composer and opera director based in Amsterdam. His avant-garde approach to opera has resulted in hybrid productions such as Days and Nights with Christ, To Traverse Water, MIKROVION (Small Life – 36 Images in a Phantom Flux of Life), The Divine Kiss, and Tesla – Lightning in His Hand. His most recent large-scale work The Barbarians, inspired by Constantine Cavafy’s famous poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art.

His works range from large-scale music-theatre and opera to mobile installation-art events. His compositions have earned acclaim as remarkable for their mesmerising, atmospheric qualities and production designs.

In 1993, he was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House Trust to compose ICON, a large-scale music-theatre piece, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.

Additional theatre works include Kimisis – Falling AsleepBordersOrfeo, Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, Antigone and The Da Ponte Project. Prayer Bells, which draws on traditions of Latin, Hebrew and Byzantine chant, had its USA premiere at the Chicago Cultural Centre.

In 2004, he was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship. His Incantation II for soprano and digital delay won the International Valentino Bucchi Vocal Prize in Rome in 1997. His design credits include the internationally acclaimed Odyssey and Medea.

In 2014-15, Kimisis – Falling Asleep, a chamber opera for soprano and electric trombone, had its Netherlands premiere at Splendor Amsterdam and later toured to the Karavaan Festival.


Ivan Paitre

Technical Director

Ivan Paitre was born in France and is currently based Amsterdam. Over the years, he has lived and worked in major cities all over the world: Montreal, Miami, Paris, London, and São Paulo, to name but a few.

Ivan is at home in a variety of genres, from sound and film production to site-specific décor and costume design, and is employed for projects in the worlds of modern pop/opera/theatre and for commercial events.

His early training was focussed on the music industry. From 2003 to 2005, he was mentored by multi-platinum producer/songwriter and Grammy winner Rudy Perez in Miami Beach.

In 2008, after gaining much experience in the USA and France, he oversaw the live sound engineering production for Le Caveaux des oubliettes in Paris. In France, too, he added lighting design to his skill set, discovering Cymatic light VJ installations of vibrating water.

Recent film projects include Werzerkering, Reliviation by Wouter Springer and Ray van Der Bas, starring Pamela Anders; and Biljestdag (Day of Reckoning) by Gideon van Eeden and Ray van der Bas, starring John Leddy and Wendy Riksen.

He was the assistant producer on numerous editions of Inner Voyage by Ballet Bernasconi based in San Francisco.

Ivan is involved with the Amsterdam-based Kuza Studios – a creative agency aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, working with companies and foundations to create immersive digital media and powerful events to drive Corporate Social Responsibility.


Anna Lindblad

Anna Lindblad aka: Menja Mist

Sound Design

Amsterdam-based DJ and producer Anna Lindblad was born in Sweden but was raised all around the world. At an early age, she had a fascination and passion for music that has grown, deepened, and evolved during a life filled with many travels and influences from different cultures. As a classically trained musician (flute and bass), she strives to blend these musical cultures, creating new fusions of ethnic music and modern techno, and invites the listener to join in on a holistic musical journey.

With a solid understanding of jazz and classical music as well as an intuitive feeling for the unlimited possibilities that all music has to transmit emotions, Anna took to DJing about 12 years ago. Her preference is for the pronounced rhythms and bass lines of Deep House, Tech House, and Techno Minimal genres. Her career demonstrates her many and varied skills: co-owner of the production company Jan Lindblad Prod (1994–2000), sound engineer and project manager, décor designer and builder for environmental and documentary productions in both India and Brazil, still-photography assistant in commercial photography, and urban/pop-artist with exhibitions at De Cantine and Roest.

Anna also has a background in motion-picture sound engineering—in the field and in post-production—and has mastered how to project and seamlessly intertwine sounds that take the listener on a journey. Since 2017, she is the host of two monthly radio shows on the prestigious radio station Di.fm and EJR-Radio.


Lithal Bio – IHOS Amsterdam Hypnos project

Lithal Yosef

Costume and Properties Designer

Lithal Yosef began her professional practice designing handbags and accessories for the retail chain Precious Jewels. She is a passionate designer and campaigner of the eco-fashion movement.

She worked on numerous productions for Ballet Bernasconi (San Francisco), which toured Europe in 2017–18. She also assisted visual artist Mati Ale on the Street Art Festival (Tel Aviv) in 2014 and has been active in costume fabrication and décor design with the Vogue Academy.

Lithal now works in experimental theatre and independent-film productions based in Amsterdam.


A Deep Black Sleep

Photo by Aleksandar Mijailović

A Deep Black Sleep

A new opera in development for tenor, six instruments and 10 masked characters
By Alan Mauritz Swanson, Tyrone Landau, and Constantine Koukias
Film sequences by Slavisa Drobnjaković

A new opera for tenor, six instruments, and 10 masked characters.

A composer caught between artistic values and political expediency in a threatening authoritarian climate.
An opera about the creation of an opera.

 

Libretto – Alan Mauritz Swanson
Voice – Tyrone Landau
Music Director – Vera van der Bie
Direction – Constantine Koukias
Choreographer – Ilija Surla
Film Sequence Director – Slavisa Drobnjaković
Director of Photography – Aleksandar Mijailović
Technical Director – Ivan Paitre
Film Sequence Editor – Mihajlo Jevtić
Wardrobe / Mask Fabrication Supervisors – Elizabeth Ralston, Lithal Yosef
Surveillance Camera Mask – Eva Wegman
Headless Coat Costumier – Srećko Dimitrijević, Irena Djukanović
Clock Head / Bird Beck Mask – Lithal Yosef
Cable Mask – Elizabeth Ralston

We meet T, a composer, as he hears good news about a recent performance of one of his works. He also hears that a new commission, which he greatly desires, might be forthcoming.

Unknown masked figures visit him, creating unease and uncertainty. T works fitfully on a song he is composing but finds the words meaningless. He picks up a libretto to an opera he has promised his dying comrade he would set to music, a libretto with deep meaning for him. A masked figure enters and gives T a large envelope, which turns out not to be a musical commission but some documents he does not understand. T puts them away and goes back to his song, still hoping for a commission.

More masked figures enter demanding the documents, which he insists he does not have. Another gives him a ticket for travel. T finally opens the large envelope and reads its contents. The documents are about ‘the cause’, and a telephone call sends him off to meet someone to discuss it.

T begins to question his understanding and purpose with music. He agrees to act for ‘the cause’, but demands his price: the commission for the opera he promised his dying comrade. A masked figure brings him a contract, tears it in two, and gives T one half.

For ‘the cause’, T undertakes a strenuous journey to a strange place. He is met by new masked figures, all of whom want the documents, which he denies having. Two figures beat him up. Finally, a figure helps him up, reveals the other half of the contract, and leaves with the documents.

T has succeeded and now has the opera commission. He takes up his comrade’s libretto but finds he cannot compose. He faces the realisation that acting for ‘the cause’ has cost him his ability to keep the promise he made. He is left only with silence.

Tyrone Landau

Voice

Having started out as a pianist in a dance school in Covent Garden, Tyrone became Musical Director of Dance at Clwd Theatr Cymru, Wales, before moving to Australia. He worked there for a number of years before returning to London. Tyrone has enjoyed considerable success as a tenor in traditional repertoire (with a focus on Rossini, Mozart, and Donizetti) and also has extensive experience in contemporary music and opera. His recent operatic productions include Friends Like The Rain and Alt Om Min Familie for Bergen Nasjonale Opera, Norway; The Owl and the Pussycat for Royal Opera House, London; Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda for Melbourne Arts Centre, Australia; and Anti-Midas for the Beckett Theatre, Dublin.

Other recent performances include Messe un Jour Ordinaire for Cité de la Musique, Paris; l’Hôtel Chelsea for Kings Place, London; La Partenza for the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Tonos Humanos for the Recital Centre Melbourne, Australia; À l’Agité du Bocal with l’Ensemble Ars Nova, Poitiers; Passio Olavi for the Kirke Autunnale Festival, Bergen; and Praxitella, for the re-opening of Leeds Art Gallery.


Alan Mauritz Swanson

Libretto

Alan Mauritz Swanson is an American composer and academic who lives in the Netherlands.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1941, he took his BA (1963) and MA (1965) at Indiana University and his PhD at the University of Chicago (1973). In between he studied at Stockholm University. As an academic, he taught at Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois), Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah), and the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), and came to specialize in the theatre and opera of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Alan trained as a singer and many of his early compositions are for voice, but recent work has tended to be varied in form: string quartets, a viola concerto, a partita for piano, and other works. In 2006, he was honoured for his academic and community work by being appointed Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.


Vera van der Bie

Vera van der Bie

Music Director

After obtaining her Masters degree as a classical violinist, Vera van der Bie has been all over the musical landscape. She has played with classical orchestras such as Nederlands Kamerorkest and Radio Philharmonisch Orkest, and held a job for years with the Metropole Orkest. She played the contemporaries in ASKO/Schoenberg, Doelenensemble, Doelenkwartet and Ensemble Klang, while also playing and improvising in bands like Martin Fondse Orchestra, Elastic Jargon and Zapp4. She has toured with acts like Bill Laurance, Jonathan Jeremiah, Lenine and Di-rect and done projects with dance (Scapino, ISH), silent film (EYE) and music theater (Veenfabriek). She’s is very active as a studio musician and contractor (Omnivorous Music), recording music for cd’s, film and commercials.

Apart from playing violin, viola, musical saw and singing, Vera has also written and arranged music for Zeeuws Orkest, Metropole Strings, Friesian Proms and Ricciotti Ensemble, as well as for her own groups; West Side Trio (electric string trio with effects and vocals) and Quartet Quinetique (string quartet).

Current tours include Odelion Orchestra, Odelion Duo and Flip Noorman sings Leonard Cohen.


Photo by Désirée Hofland
Styling by Melanie Wirz

Ilija Surla

Choreographer

Ilija Surla, born in Serbia in 1985, discovered dance at a young age through performing with traditional folk dance groups, eventually dancing professionally for two years at the Theater Terazije and the Opera Theater Madllenianum in Belgrade. Modern dance came into his life much later. Through a scholarship from the Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation (Zürich, Switzerland) he came to the Netherlands to further his career in modern dance at the Amsterdam School of the Arts.

He has danced in the work of Damien Munoz, Kenzo Kusuda, Kenneth Ludden, Rosie Heinrich, and Muhanad Rasheed and has participated in workshops at the Batsheva Dance Company and Club Guy and Roni. He has also danced for Dance Works Rotterdam/Andre Gingras, Foltz + Company and, the Internationaal Danstheater and for productions of De Nederlandse Opera and Edan Gorlicki. He was also a physical actor in the production Macho Macho, directed by Igor Vrebac.

At the moment, he is to be seen in productions of the Dudapaiva Company, with which he has worked for some years, involving puppetry as well as modern dance. He is also currently involve with collaboration work between Ulrike Quade Company and Jo StrØmgren Kompani, and is to be seen dancing and acting in children theater performances with Plan-d/Andreas Denk.


Slavisa Drobnjakovic

Slavisa Drobnjaković

Film Sequence Director

Slavisa Drobnjaković commenced his acting studies in classical theatre at the age of fourteen in Yugoslavia. Further study took him to the Art Academy and Cultural Anthropology in Belgrade. After moving to Amsterdam in 2001, he has been involved as a performance artist at Das Arts Amsterdam and Amsterdam Cyber Theatre and other artistic collaborations.

He has written several commercial scripts for ComradFilm in Slovenia and worked as a creative assistant on the films of Heidi Vogels and theatre director Boris Todorovic. In recent years, Slavisa dedicates himself entirely to film and works for the stage. He has been engaged as a writer/ director for Sluizer Film Productions for two long features:

       “The Tragic Death of Branka Djukic” follows the painful process within one highlander family, from the moment of the mysterious murder of their daughter to the act of revenge itself. In the development of the story there lie human instincts and irrationalities as catalysts to all further events.”

       “The Waste Land” is the frame tale of a man who tries to escape his homeland and his fate. Historiographic metafiction set in 1923, in the time of the first publishing of T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name.”

For the stage, he is co-designing a new chamber opera for Nancy Black, for Black Hole Theatre based in Australia. For Foundation IHOS Amsterdam he has written and directed the film sequences for “A Deep Black Sleep”, a chamber opera for solo tenor and six masked musicians. Two short films “Eros and Thanatos” and “The Pain of Others” by Slavisa Drobnjakovic are planned for release in 2021.

       “Eros and Thanatos” is a love story based in an asylum centre, a particular kind of limbo realm where the temporal dimension of past and present intertwine and gradually disappear, reducing the individual to nothing but their life force. A grotesque exemplar, a trivialisation of the Freudian concept of Eros and Thanatos.”


Backwards from Winter

Photo by David Fraser

Backwards from Winter

Monodrama for Soprano, Electric Cello, Computer Sound and Video
by
Douglas Knehans (music) and Juanita Rockwell (libretto)

Backwards from Winter, performed at Dark Mofo in Hobart, Tasmania, in 2018, is an hour-long operatic monodrama. It explores a single woman’s reflection on a love relationship as seen through various elemental filters of seasons, color, nature, emotion, and memory as told through live voice, live electronic/computer music, and multiple video streams.

She traces the past year with her beloved, moving backwards through time, from deep winter, when she is in grief over his death, to autumn, when she experiences the sharp pain of losing him in a storm, and on to the heat of their passion in summer and the heart-opening birth of their love in spring

Just as our conventional experience of linear time can be disrupted by deep grief or joy, this operatic work destabilizes theatrical conventions of narrative, character, psychology, conflict, language, and setting as it explores impermanence, loss, and love.

Douglas Knehans

Composer

With a gift for extravagant color, beautiful melodic style, and engaging, soulfully dramatic work, the music of award-winning composer Douglas Knehans has gained attention around the world. Knehans’ two-piano work cascade has been hailed by Fanfare Magazine as “effective…incisive…[and] hauntingly beautiful.” A disc of his early music for acoustic and electric cello was released on Ablaze Records in the fall of 2010 and was called “amazingly sophisticated…very beautiful…intriguing… [and] captivating” by Audiophile Audition.

Knehans has received awards from the American Music Center, the NEA, the Australia Council Performing Arts Board, Yale University, the MacDowell Colony, Opera Australia, The Cannes Film Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The National Symphony Orchestra, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Meet the Composer, and a host of others. His works have been broadcast on ABC Radio and Television (Australia); NPR and PBS (USA); RAI Radio and Television (Italy); and HTKY, the National Television Broadcaster in Ukraine.

He received his initial music education at the Australian National University. He has received scholarships and awards from Queens College, CUNY, where he gained his M.A. in composition with Distinguished Professor and renowned composer Thea Musgrave, and won the first Luigi Dallapiccola Composition Award (1991) for outstanding achievement in music composition. In 1991, Knehans entered the Doctoral program at Yale University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jacob Druckman, graduating with the Woods Chandler Memorial Prize (1993) for best composition in a larger form.

Knehans has been chair of Composition at the University of Alabama School of Music; was Professor of Music and Director of the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music between 2000-2008; and Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati from 2008-2010. He is currently the Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar at CCM.


Juanita Rockwell

Librettist

Juanita Rockwell is a writer and director specializing in the development of new work at such venues and companies as The Ontological, Mabou Mines/Suite, Culture Project, Blue Heron, Bushwick Starr, Access Theatre (NYC); Theatre of the First Amendment, Source, Atlas, DCAC, Everyman, Theatre Project, Single Carrot, Iron Crow, AcmeCorporation, UnSaddest Factory, Bell Foundry (DC/Baltimore); Gas & Electric Arts (Philadelphia); Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford Arts Center, Jorgenson Theatre, Ashford Barn (Connecticut); City Theatre, Black Sheep Festival (Pittsburgh); Teatro Municipão (São Paolo); Teatro Abya Yala (San José, CR); RS9 (Budapest); and broadcast on NPR. Produced writing for performance includes The World is Round (libretto and direction for opera, composer James Sellars), Waterwalk (libretto for gamelan opera, composer Robert Macht); Cave in the Sky (script and direction for puppets/multimedia); Lunar Pantoum (text for dance-theatre); The Circle (script for alternative art audiowalk); Upstream (script for radioplay); Across the Void, Packing/Pecking, Language Monkey, Quantum Soup (short plays); Playing Dead (translation from Presnyakovs w/Yury Urnov); Between Trains, What’s a Little Death (plays with songs, composer Chas Marsh).

As Artistic Director of Hartford’s Company One for six years, Juanita directed early premieres for stage and radio. In 1994 she became the founding artistic director of Towson University’s experimental MFA in Theatre, directing the program for a dozen years. She continues to teach in the grad program at Towson, as well as in the MA/MFA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University, also consulting on its development.

Past project support includes NEA, TCG, ITI, MD State Arts Council; and as writer-in-residence for the Ko Festival, the O’Neill Center’s National Theatre Institute, and the Visual Playwriting Conference at Gallaudet. Juanita is a Fulbright Scholar as well as member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatists Guild.

Photo by Patrick Klein Meuleman

Judith Weusten

Soprano

Dutch soprano Judith Weusten received her Bachelor in Music at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in June 2017. There she studied voice with Valérie Guillorit and Pierre Mak and was coached by Jan-Paul Grijpink. She now studies at the Dutch National Opera Academy with Margreet Honig.

In May 2016, Judith was part of the Opera Forward Festival of the Dutch National Opera where she performed in a newly composed opera by Mathilde Wantenaar. Later that same year, she sang the role of Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone. In 2017, she performed her first role at the Dutch National Opera Academy as Sandmann/Taumann in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel.

She is comfortable in Lied and oratorio as well, regularly performing in recitals. She has sung soprano solos in Haydn’s Schöpfung, Fauré’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and various Bach and Mozart cantatas.

This year, she will perform Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen and Despina in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte.


Antonis Pratsinakis

E-Cello

Antonis Pratsinakis is a cellist based in Amsterdam. In recent years he has focused on creating performances, including dance, video, acting, and culinary disciplines. He has also participated in numerous music and music theater productions with Kameroperahuis, Ergon Ensemble, Veenfabriek, Atlas Ensemble, Sonnevanck, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, and Korzo Theater. Highlights of these productions include performing solo cello in Peter Maxwell Davis’s Vesalii Icones and the 2017 tour as composer and live performer with choreographer Jasper van Luijk creating the dance performance The Nonsense Society.

He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Greece, Germany, Holland, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, and Serbia, where he received excellent reviews for his playing. An active chamber music player, he has recorded with the Infinity Piano Trio for the National Radio of Bulgaria. Recently he is working on producing his own music with e-cello as well as acoustic cello.

He studied in Thessaloniki with R. Dragnev and completed his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Amsterdam with D. Ferschtman and J. den Herder, supported by scholarships from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation and Scholingsfonds.

For more information visit: antonispratsinakis.com


Chris Jackson

Actor

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts – Theatre from the University of Tasmania in 2005, Chris has worked across the theatre and performance sector in many capacities including directing, acting, and performance art and design, as well as completing a Master of Contemporary Arts degree in theatre and performance. His work has been seen at local, state, national, and international levels.

Highlights include acting/performing in Dancing Back Home (JUTE/Mudlark Theatre Inc.), Borders (IHOS Opera/JUNCTION Arts Festival); Savages (Persona Collective/JUNCTION Arts Festival); Artaud Defacteau (OzFrank Thetre Matrix); assistant directing the Helpmann nominated Barbarians (IHOS Opera/MONA FOMA); and serving as vision designer for Relax the Chimp (TasDance/JUNCTION Arts Festival), Chasing a Sound Like Rain, which toured Tasmania and Canada (LYTE/10 Days on the Island). He was composer/sound designer for I Am a Lake (Mudlark Theatre Inc.) for which he received Best Design in the Professional Theatre category at the Tasmanian Theatre Awards. He also earned two nominations for Blackadder in the Community Theatre section for his work as Edmund and for lighting design. Most recently, he performed in the new work staged at MTC’s Southbank Theatre, Islamophilia; Encore Theatre’s Blood Brothers; and the installation work PANOPTICON at Dark MOFO alongside an array of artists.

Chris is currently an Associate Lecturer, Production Manager and Theatre Technical Officer at the School of Creative Arts whilst also nearing completion of a Master of Fine Arts candidature.

Constantine Koukias

Mise-en-scène

Constantine Koukias is a Greek-Tasmanian composer and opera director based in Amsterdam. His avant-garde approach to opera has resulted in hybrid productions such as Days and Nights with Christ, To Traverse Water, MIKROVION (Small Life – 36 Images in a Phantom Flux of Life), The Divine Kiss, and Tesla – Lightning in His Hand. His most recent large-scale work The Barbarians, inspired by Constantine Cavafy’s famous poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art.

His works range from large-scale music-theatre and opera to mobile installation-art events. His compositions have earned acclaim as remarkable for their mesmerising, atmospheric qualities and production designs.

In 1993, he was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House Trust to compose ICON, a large-scale music-theatre piece, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.

Additional theatre works include Kimisis – Falling AsleepBordersOrfeo, Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, Antigone and The Da Ponte Project. Prayer Bells, which draws on traditions of Latin, Hebrew and Byzantine chant, had its USA premiere at the Chicago Cultural Centre.

In 2004, he was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship. His Incantation II for soprano and digital delay won the International Valentino Bucchi Vocal Prize in Rome in 1997. His design credits include the internationally acclaimed Odyssey and Medea.

In 2014-15, Kimisis – Falling Asleep, a chamber opera for soprano and electric trombone, had its Netherlands premiere at Splendor Amsterdam and later toured to the Karavaan Festival.


Ivan Paitre

Mise-en-scène

Ivan Paitre was born in France and is currently based Amsterdam. Over the years, he has lived and worked in major cities all over the world: Montreal, Miami, Paris, London, and São Paulo, to name but a few.

Ivan is at home in a variety of genres, from sound and film production to site-specific décor and costume design, and is employed for projects in the worlds of modern pop/opera/theatre and for commercial events.

His early training was focussed on the music industry. From 2003 to 2005, he was mentored by multi-platinum producer/songwriter and Grammy winner Rudy Perez in Miami Beach.

In 2008, after gaining much experience in the USA and France, he oversaw the live sound engineering production for Le Caveaux des oubliettes in Paris. In France, too, he added lighting design to his skill set, discovering Cymatic light VJ installations of vibrating water.

Recent film projects include Werzerkering, Reliviation by Wouter Springer and Ray van Der Bas, starring Pamela Anders; and Biljestdag (Day of Reckoning) by Gideon van Eeden and Ray van der Bas, starring John Leddy and Wendy Riksen.

He was the assistant producer on numerous editions of Inner Voyage by Ballet Bernasconi based in San Francisco.

Ivan is involved with the Amsterdam-based Kuza Studios – a creative agency aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, working with companies and foundations to create immersive digital media and powerful events to drive Corporate Social Responsibility.


Cazerine Barry

Projection Design

Cazerine Barry is an artist who has worked in many areas of performance, direction, and media. Over the past 20 years, her work has been presented in Australia as well as in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Jakarta, Mexico City, Beijing, Paris, Christchurch, Taranaki, Glasgow, and Monaco.

She is the recipient of the New Media Fellowship and Eva Czajor Memorial Award. Her other awards include an Asialink Residency in Taiwan, a Highly commended Australian Cinematography Award, and a cultural exchange award from the Australian Indonesian Institute. Her short films have been purchased by SBS and BBC television. She has created media for performances with Australian companies Vitalstatistix, Playbox, Back to Back, Terrapin Theatre, Cirque, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Black Hole Theatre, and Arena Theatre Company.

Recent commissions include Parteitag (Concertgebouw Orchestra/Holland Festival) composed by Brett Dean, the song cycles A Thousand Doors A Thousand Windows and The Legend of Ned Kelly (Terrapin Theatre) composed by Constantine Koukias, and SQUARE (North Arts) composed by Euphonia.

She has collaborated with David Chisholm on the digital pantomime SPRUNGInsurgency for Melbourne University Union Theatre, and the development phases of opera noir Dr. Couteau and musical theatre work Revival. She has recently presented excerpts of Olegas for IHOS Opera while completing her degree in early education. Since that time, she has produced visual media for the musical theatre development Carnegie 18 at the Arts Centre and worked on a solo project through the assistance of Creative Victoria.


Greg Gurr

Sound Design

Greg began his interest in audio at 16 while still at school in Tasmania. Throughout his career, he has worked as an acoustic jazz and contemporary music concert engineer, a film and video sound recordist, and a designer/engineer in a variety of theatre performance. Some of the highlights of Greg’s career have included engineering the sound for Roy Orbison, Don Burrows, Ivan Rebroff, The Angels, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee and touring with international acts 10CC, ELO, and The Stranglers. Greg was also sound recordist on Words and Silk, an award winning documentary on author Gerald Murnane.

Greg’s first IHOS production was Days and Nights with Christ in 1997. Since then he has designed and operated the sound for productions including the small music theatre works Kimisis – Falling Asleep, Kitchen Table Rondo, and Prayer Bells and the large-format productions The Divine Kiss, Sea Chant, Tesla – Lightning in His Hand, and The Barbarians for the Museum of Old & New Art.

He also designed the works for the IHOS Music Theatre Laboratory including Spirits of the Hoist, Schwa – the Neutral Vowel, As if Electronically ControlledTouch Wood and Antigone.

Following his retirement from ABC TV, Greg has focused on other interests such as photography, 3D recording, and plane-wave technology in audio design.


Jason James

Lightning

Jason has worked as a lighting and projection designer for over twelve years,

His recent credits include Red Racing Hood, Big Baby, Pip and Pooch, Shadow Dreams, Sleeping Horses Lie, Love (Terrapin Puppet Theatre); Born from Animals, Branch Book Bench, The Company I Keep, If I jumped I’d Fly (Tasmanian Theatre Company); Motel Dreaming, Galla Placidia (Dark MOFO); Echo, The Barbarians, and Kimisis (IHOS); Tell Tails (Bridget Bridge); Abandoned Dances, Episodes, Birds (Mature Age Dance Ensemble); Wild at Heart, Motel Dreaming (Unconscious Collective); Spiegeltent (Ten Days on the Island); and Fall, Winter, Spring (Second Echo Ensemble).

Jason has been developing a broader arts practice around light over the last seven years. He is currently studying Visual Arts at the Tasmanian College of the Arts and has had artworks presented in festivals around Tasmania. The two most recent were Angry Electrons, a solo show in Dark MOFO 2015, and Crevasse, which was a part of envelop(e) curated by Matt Warren, a co-presentation between Contemporary Arts Tasmania and Dark MOFO.

jasongarethjames.com


Mik Lavage

Surveillance Design & Projection Operator

Mik Lavage is an Australian sound and vision designer, composer, and musician. Working on stage and screen, Mik has been nominated for AFI awards (screen) and worked on shows nominated for the Helpmann Awards (stage).

Mik has collaborated with a broad range of artists and companies from the ancient Greek leanings of IHOS to the acrobatic worlds of The Tom Tom Crew, Company 2, and Strange Fruit, and has performed worldwide in Melbourne, Munich, Montreal, Detroit, Paris, and Taipei, among other locations. He currently tours globally with The Orkestra of the Underground, Company 2, IHOS, Hermitude, and Toni Childs working as a sound designer, a musical performer, and a designer of interactive visual elements.

Mik is also a graduate of AFTRS (Australian Film, Television & Radio School) in music composition for film, and has produced numerous albums as a solo artist as well as with Toni Childs. His music has been featured in many dance, theatre, and film productions that range from political documentary to feature film.

May 25, 2018

World premiere

Center for Contemporary Opera
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
New York, NY 10025-6990

Visit website

June 20–23, 2018

Australian premiere

Foundation IHOS Amsterdam
City Hall,
57-63 Macquarie Street
Hobart, Tasmania, 7001

Visit website


Shaped by Trees

Photo by Gabe Pezzimenti & James Kunovski

Shaped by Trees

A film opera in pre-production
By Biasino William Pezzimenti and Constantine Koukias

A nineskippinggods production in association with Foundation IHOS Amsterdam, Roar Film, LIMINAL Studio, Opera & Performing Arts Laboratory, IHOS Australia, and Gap In The Fence

Direction
Constantine Koukias, Biasino William Pezzimenti

Supervising Director
Steve Thomas

Supervising Executive Producer
Kath Symmons

Producers
Michel van den Hoed, Frances Butler

Conductor – Warwick Stengårds Librettist – Biasino William Pezzimenti Composer – Constantine Koukias,
Director of Photography – Sandi Sissel Production Designers – Peta Heffernan & Elvio Brianese Assistant Director – Ivan Paitre Casting – Isobel Ferrier Sound Producers – Greg Gurr & Donald Bate Projection Design – Mik Lavage Lighting – Jason James Costume & Wardrobe – Elizabeth Monaghan Hair & Make Up Design – Vanda Leigh Electronic Tape Engineers – Donald Bate Stylist – Olga Johnston-Antonova Photography – Marco van Middelkoop

Behind-the-scenes video by Marco van Middelkoop

REMEMBERING EVA, our protagonist, tells us her story in a nursing home, where she is suffering the ravages of Alzheimer’s and of a tired heart. Her disease teases her mind with things that are both real and imagined. We observe her across three stages of her life.

We see her back in time as EVA, struggling but surviving. She supports herself as an exotic dancer. She is independent and resourceful on the outside, but inside she burns for love who needs to get away from her troubled family past and from her dangerous serpentine life. Courageous and bold, she breaks ties, removes boundaries, and then finds one inconceivable person with whom she transcends the farthest point of her dreams to reach an uneasy freedom that will later terrorize her soul. Both profane and holy, she is a woman born from God’s mercy and retribution, an exotic dancer who at one point declares about her young seminarian lover, “He was only a burn…an unfinished tattoo on my heart.” This man, TARKA, entered her shadowed life in a surprisingly unintentional encounter that ultimately reconstructs both of them, forever.

We see her as YOUNG EVA during the central stage of her life, where all of her life begins. She is hurt and isolated by her toxic parents and their childish arguing. To neutralize their obscene and loud bickering, she retreats to her cloistered bedroom and reads, over and over again, a poem entitled “Shaped by Trees.” It provides her comfort and a gentle environment that is otherwise hard to find in her young, impressionable life. Young Eva is a constant dreamer, travelling in her mind with nature, love, and harmony with a heart that is pure and kind.

TARKA, an Australian aboriginal, is an idealistic and disciplined seminarian student with a non-negotiable belief in the Church and its power. Order and ceremony defines his world, in which truth is only found in Christ’s words. But one extraordinary evening, he meets a young exotic dancer, an uncommon woman who in a moment serves all the sensual appetites to a man who has only known measured aloofness and preparation for the priesthood. At this moment, his life is changed. He will remain in conflict with his immovable, dominating church and his love for Eva.

Tarka’s spiritual aspirations begin to flicker brightly, like the light in Eva’s mind, as their love for each other ignites. The two lovers are at a dangerous crossroads in their young lives. They carelessly break traditions and, in doing so, are become exposed raw and exposed. They are left with only mercy, beautiful lust, and sanctuary within nature’s indomitable spirit.

EVA Exotic dancer (Soprano)
Remembering EVA Eva, later in life (Soprano)
Young EVA Speaking voice
TARKA Aboriginal seminarian student (Baritone)
AUGUSTINE Catholic priest (High Baritone)

Conductor – Warwick Stengårds

ENSEMBLE
Flute – (Piccolo), Oboe – (English Horn), Soprano Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Bassoon – (Contra Bassoon),
Ondes Martenot, Strings, Harpsichord, Piano, and Percussion (3 players) with Pre Recorded Tape.

 

EVA
Exotic dancer (Soprano)
The title character, Eva is independent and not gagged by tradition or falsehood. A free-spirited woman, freshly unconventional, who does everything with endless passion.

She is intoxicating and unfaltering in her courage, but there is also sadness in her freedom. A radiant woman who has always wanted real love yet finds herself in a most unremarkable, soulless place of lechery surrounded by lonely, greedy men. Uncannily, her work in the shadows as an exotic dancer returns her to another dim place years later—the result of an impassable disease that distorts and obstructs her entire existence. She is spiritual, beautiful, intelligent, and rebellious.

Remembering EVA
Eva, later in life (Soprano)
Eva in her later years takes us back and forth in time within her troubled mind. She is a weary old woman damaged by grief, love, and deception. Still wise and perceptive, however, she takes us to her dark places as she battles Alzheimer’s. Both deceitful and faithful, her memories fight as we observe a tired woman haunted by a past that is unreliably bleak and divinely real. Throughout her sickness, demons stalk and defile the love she once enshrined.

Young EVA
Speaking voice
“A sixteen-year-old Eva, she gives us a glimpse of her abusive family life. She spends most of her time when home in her sparse room reading poetry. She focuses on one poem, “Shaped by Trees,” which she loves for its mystical, soothing warmth. It is this poem that has cloaked her and comforted her throughout her young life while, outside her bedroom walls, she hears her parents loudly arguing, their marriage one of cruelty and selfishness. Idealistic and mature for her age, she lives in an imaginary world of relief against the hostility of her parents and loves nature, dancing, and enchantment.

TARKA
Aboriginal seminarian student (Baritone)
Tarka, an Australian Aboriginal adopted at birth, was raised in a very strict Catholic family. We meet him as a young seminarian student who is proudly disciplined and who blindly believes in the absolute power of the Church, which provides him an environment of power and influence for which he is well-trained. Yet, there is an unlikely side to him that reveals itself slowly. He has a charming sense of humour and a tender, compassionate heart. Like Eva, he, too, is restless, which fosters the lusty, unpredictable side to his principles and beliefs—a side that shows itself after he enters a strip club, out of curiosity rather than lasciviousness, on the extraordinary evening that he meets an uncommon woman who unleashes his deeply buried sensuality and awakens an earthy but also sacred spirit within him.

AUGUSTINE
Catholic priest (High Baritone)
A kind, gentle priest, calming and caring to the patients in the nursing home. He is the son of Eva and Tarka.

Biasino William Pezzimenti

Librettist

Biasino William Pezzimenti is a writer/poet. He has over 30 years experience working in television and radio.

The author of numerous radio segments and provocative satirical comedy skits, he wrote and co – produced many wild and darkly humorous commercials on radio stations in Buffalo, New York. He has received numerous accolades for his writing including the Best Radio Commercial at the New York State Broadcast Awards.

Biasino wrote the lyrics and co- wrote the acoustically moving love song ‘ Still Life’ with a New York City based singer- songwriter. It was recorded in the Fast Folk Magazine label and archived by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

His self published book of poetry, Shooting Ghosts is considered forthright, confronting and at times darkly comedic. Shaking down the branches that hold the modern world together.

Biasino has trained English and non English media  executives and senior managers in the US, Brazil, Australia, Japan, Great Britain and Canada.

Accidentally born in Melbourne, Australia and raised in Buffalo, New York; he played cowboy in Tucson, Arizona, but now lives in Sydney, Australia. Bill works wherever a flight is available.


Constantine Koukias

Composer

Constantine Koukias is a Greek-Tasmanian composer and opera director based in Amsterdam. His avant-garde approach to opera has resulted in hybrid productions such as Days and Nights with Christ, To Traverse Water, MIKROVION (Small Life – 36 Images in a Phantom Flux of Life), The Divine Kiss, and Tesla – Lightning in His Hand. His most recent large-scale work The Barbarians, inspired by Constantine Cavafy’s famous poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art.

His works range from large-scale music-theatre and opera to mobile installation-art events. His compositions have earned acclaim as remarkable for their mesmerising, atmospheric qualities and production designs.

In 1993, he was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House Trust to compose ICON, a large-scale music-theatre piece, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.

Additional theatre works include Kimisis – Falling AsleepBordersOrfeo, Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, Antigone and The Da Ponte Project. Prayer Bells, which draws on traditions of Latin, Hebrew and Byzantine chant, had its USA premiere at the Chicago Cultural Centre.

In 2004, he was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship. His Incantation II for soprano and digital delay won the International Valentino Bucchi Vocal Prize in Rome in 1997. His design credits include the internationally acclaimed Odyssey and Medea.

In 2014-15, Kimisis – Falling Asleep, a chamber opera for soprano and electric trombone, had its Netherlands premiere at Splendor Amsterdam and later toured to the Karavaan Festival.


Warwick Stengårds

Conductor

Following a four-year engagement as Assistent Generalmusikdirektor at the Volksoper Wien and a seven-year tenure as Erster Kapellmeister at the Luzerner Theater, Warwick Stengårds is a freelance conductor based in Vienna.

In addition to an extensive symphonic canon, Stengårds has a music-theatre repertoire of over 100 works performing with companies such as Vienna State Opera, Volksoper Wien, Folkoperan Stockholm, Opera Australia, Victoria State Opera, Chamber Made Opera and West Australian Opera where, in 1991, he was appointed Music Director.

Operatic highlights include the world premieres of Koehne’s Love Burns, Tahourdin’s Heloise and Abelard, Ingham’s Transfigured Night, Koukias’ MIKROVION, Australian premieres of Turnage’s Greek, Williamson’s Our Man in Havana, and regional premieres of Wozzeck and The Rake’s Progress.

In Europe, Stengårds has conducted the Ulster Orchestra, the SL Orkester, the Uppsala Kammarorkester, Klangforum Wien, the Wroclaw Philharmonic, the Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester Saarbrücken (featuring soloist Andreas Scholl), DalaSinfoniettan, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the European Doctors Orchestra and the Nürnberger Symphoniker.

Recent projects included:

Wozzeck (Gurlitt), Ariane (Martinu), Barbara Strozzi (Gräwe – World Premiere) and concerts for the Luzerner Theater.Tyranny of Distance with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Einstein Cantata with SonicFiction and concerts with the Luxemburg Philharmonie. Purcell’s Fairy Queen in South Africa, the world premiere season of Naske’s Das Städtchen Drumherum at the Vienna State Opera, Die Csardasfürstin in Leipzig, Bluebeard’s Castle in Melbourne and concerts with Soundstream Collective. Concerts with the Australian Philharmonic, Monash Academy, Luxemburg Philharmonie and Klangforum Wien are among future projects.


Sandi Sissel

Cinematographer

Sandra Sissel is an American cinematographer, director and producer. Sandi is best known for her work in documentaries such as Salaam Bombay!, Chicken Ranch, Mother Teresa (1986) as well as TV shows like 60 Minutes, and feature films like Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

She has been a member of the American Society of Cinematographers since 1994 and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2004.

Sandi started college in 1967. She pursued her interests and desire to become a reporter by studying journalism and television. While she still wanted to pursue journalism, she did contribute to a few small films during her time in college. After completing this degree, she moved to Wisconsin with her husband, where she taught and filmed for the University of Wisconsin.

After this career, she moved to New York City where she soon got a job with both NBC and later ABC. During this time, she contributed as cinematographer for The Wobblies and assisted in camera or electrical work for Best Boy, Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang, Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists, Fame, No Nukes and Rush. After working for ABC for a few years, she eventually decided to pursue a career that focussed primarily on cinematography for documentaries and feature films.

In her pursuit of this career she has gained a great deal of respect from her colleagues as a female working behind the camera. She currently teaches Advanced Cinematography Techniques and Advanced Cinematography Practicum at Tisch School of the Arts.


Elvio Brianese and Peta Heffernan

Production Designers

Architects Peta and Elvio are co-founding directors of the interdisciplinary practice Liminal Studio based in Hobart, Australia. Underpinning the Studio’s philosophy is the belief that collaborative design across disciplines drives innovative thinking. Liminal Spaces is the part of the Studio where areas of research, investigation, and participation go beyond the traditional realms of architecture, ranging from delivering award-winning architecture and interiors to acclaimed collaborations in contemporary performances, exhibitions, and festivals to roles influencing the framing of cultural policy.

Their design approach to performance explores how space and meaning can be manipulated with minimal forms, where the interaction between the performer and the space define one another. This has led to award-winning collaborations with IHOS for Kimisis – Falling Asleep, which debuted at MONA FOMA in 2010 and toured internationally in 2014 and 2015; The Barbarians (MONA FOMA, 2012); the experiential installation ECHO Part 1 – A Neurological Soundscape (2013), and also the Tasmanian Theatre Company’s production Born from Animals (2014), which won the award for Best Professional Design at the inaugural Tasmanian Theatre Awards.

liminalstudio.com.au


Greg Gurr

Sound Design

Greg began his interest in audio at 16 while still at school in Tasmania. Throughout his career, he has worked as an acoustic jazz and contemporary music concert engineer, a film and video sound recordist, and a designer/engineer in a variety of theatre performance. Some of the highlights of Greg’s career have included engineering the sound for Roy Orbison, Don Burrows, Ivan Rebroff, The Angels, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee and touring with international acts 10CC, ELO, and The Stranglers. Greg was also sound recordist on Words and Silk, an award winning documentary on author Gerald Murnane.

Greg’s first IHOS production was Days and Nights with Christ in 1997. Since then he has designed and operated the sound for productions including the small music theatre works Kimisis – Falling Asleep, Kitchen Table Rondo, and Prayer Bells and the large-format productions The Divine Kiss, Sea Chant, Tesla – Lightning in His Hand, and The Barbarians for the Museum of Old & New Art.

He also designed the works for the IHOS Music Theatre Laboratory including Spirits of the Hoist, Schwa – the Neutral Vowel, As if Electronically ControlledTouch Wood and Antigone.

Following his retirement from ABC TV, Greg has focused on other interests such as photography, 3D recording, and plane-wave technology in audio design.


Jason James

Lightning

Jason has worked as a lighting and projection designer for over twelve years,

His recent credits include Red Racing Hood, Big Baby, Pip and Pooch, Shadow Dreams, Sleeping Horses Lie, Love (Terrapin Puppet Theatre); Born from Animals, Branch Book Bench, The Company I Keep, If I jumped I’d Fly (Tasmanian Theatre Company); Motel Dreaming, Galla Placidia (Dark MOFO); Echo, The Barbarians, and Kimisis (IHOS); Tell Tails (Bridget Bridge); Abandoned Dances, Episodes, Birds (Mature Age Dance Ensemble); Wild at Heart, Motel Dreaming (Unconscious Collective); Spiegeltent (Ten Days on the Island); and Fall, Winter, Spring (Second Echo Ensemble).

Jason has been developing a broader arts practice around light over the last seven years. He is currently studying Visual Arts at the Tasmanian College of the Arts and has had artworks presented in festivals around Tasmania. The two most recent were Angry Electrons, a solo show in Dark MOFO 2015, and Crevasse, which was a part of envelop(e) curated by Matt Warren, a co-presentation between Contemporary Arts Tasmania and Dark MOFO.

jasongarethjames.com


Mik Lavage

Production Design

Mik Lavage is an Australian sound and vision designer, composer, and musician. Working on stage and screen, Mik has been nominated for AFI awards (screen) and worked on shows nominated for the Helpmann Awards (stage).

Mik has collaborated with a broad range of artists and companies from the ancient Greek leanings of IHOS to the acrobatic worlds of The Tom Tom Crew, Company 2, and Strange Fruit, and has performed worldwide in Melbourne, Munich, Montreal, Detroit, Paris, and Taipei, among other locations. He currently tours globally with The Orkestra of the Underground, Company 2, IHOS, Hermitude, and Toni Childs working as a sound designer, a musical performer, and a designer of interactive visual elements.

Mik is also a graduate of AFTRS (Australian Film, Television & Radio School) in music composition for film, and has produced numerous albums as a solo artist as well as with Toni Childs. His music has been featured in many dance, theatre, and film productions that range from political documentary to feature film.

Anke Höppner

Remembering EVA (Soprano)

Anke Höppner was born in Germany and studied with Professor Renate Faltin at the Hanns-Eisler Conservatorium in Berlin. She won first prize in the Hanns-Eisler Liederwettbewerb (the award for the best vocal graduate in the German Democratic Republic) and, in 1993, the Bayreuth Stipendium. In 2001, she won the Helpmann Award for best female operatic performance.

An early association with Komische Oper, Berlin, led to principal roles in Les Brigandes, Die Zauberflöte, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Cenerentola, and Der Freischütz. Anke then began to take larger roles in many German theatres including the title role in Jenufa, Abigaile in Nabucco, Lisa in Pique Dame, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, Charlotte in Werther, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and Jane Seymour in Anna Bolena for the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater; and Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw for both Neue Opernbühne Berlin and the Otono Festival in Madrid. She also appeared as Brautjungfer in Der Freischütz for the Staatsoper in Berlin.

Upon moving to Australia in the 1990s, Anke was quickly offered engagements by Opera Australia. For the national company, she has sung the title roles in Iphigénie en Tauride, Jenufa, Madama Butterfly and The Gypsy Princess, Mimi in La bohème, Lucretia Janz in Batavia, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, The Foreign Princess in Rusalka, and Emilia Marty in The Makropulos Secret.

For State Opera South Australia, Anke performed the title role in Madama Butterfly and Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana. She sang Lucretia Janz for the Perth International Arts Festival and the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the role of Procne in The Love of the Nightingale for Victorian Opera and Opera Queensland.

Concert engagements have included Liederabende with songs of Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, and Dvorak in the London Opera Festival, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Melbourne International Music Festival, and Barossa Music Festival; Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem with the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Sinfonieorchester; Mozart’s Requiem with the Berliner Philharmonie; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonieorchester and the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Sinfonieorchester; Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck with the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Halle, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Tasmanian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. In recent seasons, she has sung the title roles in Turandot for Opera Australia and Tosca for West Australian Opera; Minnie in La fanciulla del West for West Australian Opera and Opera Australia; Leonore in Fidelio for Opera Queensland and Opera Australia; and The Witch in Hansel and Gretel for State Opera of South Australia. She also repeated her portrayal as Procne in Sydney and appeared as Gerhilde and 3rd Norn in Opera Australia’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in Melbourne. In 2014, Anke returned to Perth as Tosca.


Sarah Jones

EVA (Soprano)

Born in Tasmania, Sarah moved to Sydney in 2005 and completed a Master of Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium. Sarah performed for Opera Australia’s NSW Schools Company in Sid the Serpent (2011), Cinderella (2009), The Barber of Seville (2008) and The Magic Flute (2007). Other engagements include Soprano II in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (Willoughby Symphony, 2011), Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: La Traviata (Opera Australia, 2012) and Opera Australia’s Opera Gala (2010). In Australia, Sarah appeared regularly with ensembles such as Cantillation, Pinchgut Opera, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and has recorded for ABC Classic FM.

In 2010, Sarah created the role of Spirit in FOX, a new opera for children (Monkey Baa Theatre), and premiered the one-woman chamber opera KIMISIS for IHOS Opera/MONA FOMA. In 2011, she performed the lead role of Rose Pickles in excerpts from George Palmer’s new opera Cloudstreet, and also appeared as Papagena in The Magic Flute (Pacific Opera and Canberra Symphony Orchestra).

In 2012, Sarah commenced work at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden as the winner of the 2012 German Australian Opera Grant. She debuted seven roles in her first season, ranging from Valencienne in Die lustige Witwe to Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia. She was retained as a full ensemble member for the 2013–14 season, singing roles such as Christel in Der Vogelhändler and Satirino in Cavalli’s La Calisto. She is currently working as a freelance singer, singing Pamina/Papagena, Gretel, Fatime (Weber’s Abu Hassan), and Bastienne for Junge Oper! in schools across Germany. In December 2014, she revived her interpretation of Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden. In April 2015, she sang Lesbina in a concert performance of Galuppi’s Il filosofo di campagna, and in May 2015 she appeared with Ensemble Mattiacis as Amor in da Gagliano’s La Dafne as part of the International Maifestspiele in Wiesbaden. In January 2016, she played Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for Pocket Opera Wiesbaden, a role which she had already sung as a jump-in at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden.


Don Bemrose

TARKA (Baritone)

Don Bemrose is of Gungarri descent and has worked hard to become Australia’s foremost male Aboriginal classical opera singer. In professional productions, Don has sung four leads, three of which were world premieres of new Australia opera works: Pecan Summer (Short Black Opera Company, 2010), From a Black Sky (The Street Theatre, 2013), and Cloudstreet (State Opera of South Australia, 2016).

After achieving his childhood dream in 2012 of performing for Opera Australia in two productions, Don moved to the nation’s capital to commence life with his wonderful partner. Don’s success can be attributed to an amazing extended family who have educated him culturally, spiritually, and emotionally, creating a ferocious curiosity to explore this amazing planet and connect with all there is. Don’s beautiful grandmother Nana Ruth Hegarty and the Gungarri tenor Harold Blair inspired in Don a passion for singing and classical music.

Don graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance in 2011 from the Victorian College of Arts, University of Melbourne. He continues to evolve his pure vocal delivery honing his craft and training his lyric baritone voice with the incredible Raymond Connell.

Don recognises it is his path to take a passion for classical music and the operatic voice and infuse it with his strong cultural heritage and positive thinking to educate, inspire, and entertain.


Aria Johanna Pezzimenti

Girl EVA

Aria Johanna Pezzimenti is from Sydney, Australia. Aria attends St. Scholastica’s College. She previously studied at Los Carmonas Flamenco Dance School for ten years. Aria has sung locally in two live performances including jazz cabaret and a ’60s themed show. This is Aria’s first film, and she is extremely excited to have the opportunity to work alongside such accomplished and talented people.

Biasino William Pezzimenti

bill@nineskippinggods.com

Konstantin Koukias

konstantinkoukias@gmail.com