Heads Up: Sunken Garden
It's a bouquet of 3D film, opera, and electronic music
What are we talking about? The world premiere of a new film-opera, a multimedia "occult mystery". Sunken Garden is one of opera's first uses of 3D film and also marks a new collaboration between the Barbican and English National Opera.
Elevator pitch How do you stage a film-opera about the making of a film? It's a mystery!
Prime movers Dutch composer Michel van der Aa is in the driving seat; his work is highly regarded for its blending of text, film, live performance, and music. David Mitchell, better known for his novels (Cloud Atlas), provides the libretto. It's conducted by André de Ridder.
The talent Roderick Williams – currently appearing in ENO's acclaimed Medea, where he's winning particular praise – takes the lead role of Toby. Katherine Manley, Claron McFadden, Jonathan McGovern and Kate Miller-Heidke also perform.
The early buzz Website intermusica has a bit more on the questions raised by the piece: "What connects the disappearances of a software engineer and a glamorous young socialite, with a neurotic film-maker of dubious credentials and a gullible patroness of the arts? What is the unfolding crime and who is the criminal? Are their shared dreams of a walled garden between life and death … just dreams, or might such a garden be real?" Website CultureCritic wrote: "Award-winning composer, Michel van der Aa knows how to mix his media… [Sunken Garden is] all about the tricky place somewhere between life and death …."
Insider knowledge The audience will be furnished with 3D glasses for the experience.
It's great that … ENO and the Barbican have come together for a truly genre-pushing, medium-melding project, using 2D and 3D film, pre-recorded and live action, classical and electronic music ….
It's a shame that … Van der Aa may be at risk of over-egging the pudding. Not only are there many media for telling the story, but there are at least three stories to tell. He's described Sunken Garden as having three layers: "a humanistic story about three missing people, another layer which is … a dark mystery, and a third layer which is about the art of film-making."
Hit potential Likely to intrigue audiences, and with a strong creative team, but whether it'll enchant hearts as well as minds is anyone's guess.
The details Sunken Garden is at the Barbican, London EC2 (barbican.org.uk) 12 to 20 April.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 2 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
James Bond Spectre trailer drops on YouTube
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder