How did you start your collaboration on this Opera project (Sleep) with composer Anthony R. Green?
In 2015 I decided to write a short story about a robot and human locked in tragic conflict, and called it SLEEP* I first read it for an audience at Résonance Reading Series in Montréal on October 6 of that year, and it was very well received. I had always planned to do something more with it as I felt the story was strong and discussed themes relevant to current events. When I discussed the story with Anthony, he liked it and expressed interest in setting it to music. I’ve collaborated with Anthony before as a singer and composer through my Fleurs rejetées project. We had a wonderful time, so I was excited to work with him in a new format.
*You can read the original here.
Tell us about the libretto
The libretto follows my original story very closely. SLEEP was conceived as a sort of contemporary take on the fairy tale – only here the magic mirror is the conflicting realities of two individuals that appear outwardly alike. Speculative fiction is a very effective conduit for transmitting narratives that deal with duality, and the use of a mech (robot) and organic (human) in my pairing not only taps into a timeless sci-fi trope; it also illustrates a plethora of social issues we face today through the fears of both the mech and the organic.
How do you work with the composer?
The libretto is very close to the original short story. I did, however, make some modifications to transmit ideas more clearly. It’s very important to me to work with the composer in a way that will help the music best express the textual meaning, so Anthony and I made sure to discuss the libretto before I finalized it. I loved working with Anthony because our different styles are so incredibly compatible. His energy is infectious, and I’m quite energetic myself. The collaborative process was very intense and also rewarding. Anthony then created the musical score after I’d finalized the libretto. I’ve written many songs and pieces that I’ve set to music myself, but I’d never had someone else compose music to my text before, so this was a very fascinating and wonderful experience.
Your favourite instrument?
Viola! And voice, of course. I’m a singer, after all…
Last favourite disc, performance, exhibition, TV show or movie?
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s an imaginative sci-fi series with a wonderfully interesting crew aboard a space station populated by a number of characters that range from wise to quirky. This show dealt with themes of conflict and peace, cultural differences, scientific discovery – it really got my imagination going. While I love other Star Trek shows as well and so many other science fiction universes are well constructed, the world of Deep Space Nine is my favourite television creation because it showed me how a good story arc can function in the framework of a science fiction world.
An excerpt of SLEEP will be presented at Oper’Actuel – Works in progress 2019.
Two FREE performances:
Saturday, March 16, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 17, 4 p.m.
Gesù-Centre de créativité
Infos – 514 861-4036
Photo credit: Georg Aufreiter