Resvés Ópera

Resvés Ópera

Series of Conversations


Opera Studies Research Line

Centre for the Study of the Sociology and Aesthetics of Music

In pandemic times, one feels like saying: it was “resvés opera” (the Portuguese word “resvés” connotes a perilous situation in which disaster is avoided by a hair’s breadth). And that’s exactly what this series of conversations is all about: dangers and thresholds, turns and alliances, metamorphoses and transgressions.

Despite the upheaval and uncertainty, the vitality of the operatic genre seems unquestionable today. Perhaps because, in more than one sense – and right from the start with regard to its concept and its existence – opera has always happened in extremis.

In choosing this title for this series of conversations, we seek to highlight the play, which has always existed and currently intensifies in countless directions, between opera, theatre, music, dance, performance, installation, architecture, cinema, video and multimedia arts.

Each meeting will focus on a particular event or object (a production, a recording, a book, an edition, an installation), which will serve as a motto for a conversation, involving artists, composers, performers, stage directors, filmmakers, programmers or musicologists.

Organized within the scope of CESEM’s Opera Studies Research Line, these meetings will take place, throughout the 2020/21 academic year, on digital platforms.

Resvés Ópera #5 | The Sleeping Thousand

A conversation in English with Yonatan Levy and Adam Maor, creators of the opera Sleeping Thousand (2019 – Portuguese premiere at the Gulbenkian Foundation in January 2020), moderated by Nicholas McNair.

Yonatan Levy (b. 1974): director, playwright, journalist, Waldorf educator and social entrepreneur. He directed and wrote the libretto for “The Sleeping Thousand” (Music by Adam Maor) premiered at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2019 with the collaboration of the Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg.  His work “Saddam Hussein – A Mystery Play” (text, direction, design and music) was presented at the Theater der Welt festival in Mannheim, Pilsen Theatre Festival and the Schaubühne F.I.N.D festival, Berlin. Levy co-founded the Waldorf Shakked High School, the Sheik Abreik Festival of Civil Culture and the Social Arts Mill, all in his hometown of Kiryat-Tivon, Israel.

Adam Maor, an Israeli composer, was born in 1983 in Haifa, a city where he was a composition student of Eitan Steinberg. He also studied with Michaël Jarrell, Luis Naón and Eric Daubresse in Geneva. In 2011 he attended the IRCAM electronic music course in Paris. At the same time he began a course in classical Arabic music, studying the oud with Mohammed Abozekry and Michel Arkach. His work develops the question of Israeli musical identity, as can be seen in the chamber opera The Sleeping Thousand, while drawing inspiration from the fundamental structures of traditional Arabic music. From 2016 to 2018 he was the assistant artistic director at Tzlil Meudcan Festival in Tel Aviv.


Resvés Opera #4 | O CORVO BRANCO

The opera Corvo Branco, by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson: a conversation with Luísa Costa Gomes and Nicholas MacNair.

Luísa Costa Gomes is a short story writer, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, chronicler and translator. She wrote several plays, among them “Clamor” (on texts by Father António Vieira); and “O Céu de Sacadura”, which was commissioned by EXPO98 to be part of the 100-day Festival. She published 8 novels, 5 collections of short stories, 2 librettos, one of which is the libretto of the opera “Corvo Branco” by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson.

Nicholas McNair is a professor at the Lisbon Superior School of Music and was Artistic Director of his Opera Studio between 2011 and 2015. He has a Specialist title since 2014, and is currently a PhD student in Musical Arts at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He acted as musicologist and co-repeater in the three productions of “Corvo Branco”: the premiere, staged in Lisbon at Teatro Camões in 1998, within the scope of EXPO 98; months later the second at the Teatro Real in Madrid; and a reduced edition in 2001 in New York, at the Lincoln Center Festival.

Rita de Cássia Domingues dos Santos, a researcher at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (Brazil), discusses the design and production of the three productions of the opera Corvo Branco with Luísa Costa Gomes and Nicholas McNair.


Resvés Opera #3: A conversation with Vincent Huguet

Vincent Huguet is a French dramaturg and opera stage director. He has collaborated with several artists such as Patrice Chéreau, Luc Bondy, Peter Sellars and Ivo van Hove. Among his recent productions are Purcell’s Dido and Eneas (Festival Aix-en-Provence), Massenet’s Manon (Opera National de Paris) and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine, performed at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in December 2020.

In this conversation Vincent Huguet, Livia Sabag and Ligiana Costa will discuss opera staging, dramaturgy, recording and live transmission in pandemic times, taking the performance of La Voix Humaine as a starting point.


Resvés Opera # 2 | Conversation about “Twilight: Gods”, a drive-in adaptation of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung by Yuval Sharon

Yuval Sharon has amassed an unconventional body of work that expands the operatic form. He is founder and Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles and the newly appointed Artistic Director of Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre.

His first production in Detroit, Twilight: Gods, an adaptation of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, is a one-of-a-kind operatic experience inside the Detroit Opera House Parking Center. Part live performance, part immersive installation, audiences remain in their cars to experience scenes from the final opera of Wagner’s Ring Cycle on various levels of the parking structure.

Taking this production as a starting point, Yuval Sharon will discuss opera’s post-pandemic revival in a conversation with Luís Soldado and João Pedro Cachopo.


Resvés Opera # 1 | Conversation about ``7 Deaths of Maria Callas`` by M. Abramović

Marina Abramović, ‘the grandmother of performance art’, has been fascinated by the character and work of soprano Maria Callas since her childhood. As time went on, Marina realized that the two of them have a lot in common. The result of this affection is Abramović’s opera project 7 Deaths of Maria Callas about the famous diva and her stage deaths (La traviataOtelloToscaMadama ButterflyCarmen, Lucia di LammermoorNorma). However, 7 Deaths is primarily about Abramović herself, her art, her own status of diva, her rise on international art scene, her performances, suffocations, motionless sitting, undressing, her body and voice, her unhappy relationships.

7 Deaths of Maria Callas had its world premiere on 1st September 2020 at the Bayerische Staatsoper. In it, seven singers sing seven arias from operas by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Bellini and Donizetti. Composer Marko Nikodijević stands behind the musical tissue that opens and closes the piece and connects its inner parts.

Resvés Ópera – Conversation Series is an initiative by CESEM’s Linha de Estudos da Opera. Despite the upheaval and uncertainty, the vitality of the opera seems unquestionable today. Dangers and thresholds, turns and alliances, metamorphoses and transgressions are our points of interest in the opera world today.

Our first conversation, moderated by Jelena Novak, features Marina Abramović and Marko Nikodijević.

Thursday | 15th October 2020 | 3 p.m. (GMT + 1)