honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

Reflections of an impresaria

While scanning several Internet operas for my PhD research proposal on 'Virtualisation' I found "Honoria in Ciberspazio", which seems to be a very interesting project.

As I am definitely years too late to visit a live performance, I kindly ask you for some more information on the opera, e.g. on the impact of
internet technologies (e.g. webcast) on live performance.

Dear Stefanie:

Good luck on your dissertation proposal. I'm glad that you found my cyberopera helpful for your investigations on virtualization.

The opera grew out of my participation in online communities. In the communities I found instances of love, trust, mistrust, deceit, transgender, power plays, passion, miscommunication, and people talking at the same time about different things. These elements are common to classic opera plots, so I asked people in several online communities to submit poetry from the perspectives of their online personae to be used to create a staged opera. I was deluged with poetic fragments. It took 12 people over a year to edit the fragments into the libretto that is now online. To make the libretto into a stageable opera requires a dramaturge and significant amounts of money, so the cyberopera is currently in limbo.

The first live performance of honoria in ciberspazio took place in 1995 in Sandy Stone's living room and was the first opera ever webcast. You can see the images from that performance on the cyberopera web site. The performance, actually a reading, was done by performance artists with operatic loops of music. Another live performance with opera singers and scored music by George Oldziey was a guerrilla staging in the vendor's tradeshow floor at South by Southwest Interactive Convention. We created a mini set and quickly built a stage for Brian Green to dance a depiction of the virtual, idealized clone lover of soprano, Janet Davidson http://www.cyberopera.org/atoms.html None of the vendors knew that we were going to bring in opera singers and really start singing for about 10 minutes in the middle of the trade show. That was a really fun webcast. In another instance, Elaine Dove danced to the "Come to Me" aria for the cyberopera's music video. This video was webcast in October 1996 and used in a performance at Ciber@rt96 in November 1996 with live Spanish performers in the foreground.

Online communities are always dynamically building operatic stories. The creation of interactive fiction in the communities is a form of art and literature that anyone with a computer can engage in as a spontaneous temporary creative expression. Alternatively, some people center their identities in the technology-facilitated landscape they co-create with their fellow contributors. The cyberopera is about the people who really partially live a computer-mediated life. When I reflect on the role of the technology to the webcasts, I feel that communication technologies facilitated the relationships in online communities that in turn inspired the opera's story. Once the story emerged from the internet it was a natural progression to play it to an internet audience through the medium of webcasts.

In addition to literary and musical talent, the opera attracted a number of energized techies who took on the roles of producing the webcasts as a logical use of their talents. The webcasts became an extension of the community of characters inside the opera. As many as 50 people at a time fell in love with the cyberopera and formed a production family that was as fluid (people coming and going) as any online community. Opera is the staged intensification of societal stories and I think honoria in ciberspazio does an excellent job of capturing the early rapture of the primarily "text-based virtual reality" Internet.

Please let me know if you have further questions and good luck with your proposal. I would be most interested in reading your proposal and eventually your dissertation. What other Internet operas are you investigating?

Sincerely, honoria

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened