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Opera

Premiere of the opera "TMIE" at O'culto da Ajuda

08 Sep 2016 21:30

O'culto da Ajuda
Lisboa, Portugal

“TMIE, standing on the threshold of the outside world” From the spirals of the universe to the spirals of the inner self”, opera by Carlos Alberto Augusto

The story

Goddess Selene roams the skies on a silver cart pulled by two horses. She travels the spirals of the universe. The woman Mesedjer, the Ear, roams the spirals of her innermost self through the experience of hearing. Philosopher Empedocles mediates the "conflict" between these two characters. In the story of TMIE Selene portrays Henrietta Leavitt, the first woman astronomer, who counted stars at the Harvard Observatory during the turn of the 19thcentury. In the course of her calculations Miss Leavitt came to develop the theoretical framework on which astronomer Edwin Hubble based the universal constant that bears his name. “The most elusive number in cosmology”. Thanks to Henrietta Leavitt’s groundwork we are now able to perform something that seems quite astonishing: to measure the Universe. Leavitt suffered from hearing loss but managed to “listen” to what the Universe was telling her. Mesedjer portrays the true story of the Canadian woman, Beverly Biderman, who also had a profound hearing loss. At the age of 46, after growing up progressively more deaf, she received a cochlear implant, an electronic device to stimulate her hearing nerves. She slowly learned to make sense of, and love the resulting sounds she heard - including music - and describes her remarkable experience in a moving book titled "Wired for Sound: A Journey into Hearing." Through the spirals of her cochlea, Biderman managed to connect the outside world with her inner self.

TMIE is also the story of Empedocles, the Greek philosopher who created the first known theory of the ear and hearing, and addressed the act of listening in the context of our relation to the outside world. It is Empedocles who sheds the light that clarifies the common territory where these two women meet.

The concept

In TMIE an attempt has been made to create a model of performance firmly based on a great control and economy in the use of technical means, albeit creating an intense work developing in an enwrapping atmosphere. A single performer – the part is written for a mezzo soprano — plays three roles supported by a pre- recorded electronic orchestra. A single special three-sided dress, which works both as a costume, a prop and the setting, and a limited use of extra visual elements and lighting complete the production. The work was conceived to be preferentially performed in the “natural” setting of a planetarium but it can be produced in any environment. The sounds of the “orchestra” are based on an experimental use of a unique sound generating system created by the author called “spiraphonics”. The sounds of this “orchestra” also travel through the performing space thanks to the use of a specially designed sound diffusion technique.

The creative team

Concept, Music and Libretto: Carlos Alberto Augusto (Portugal); Marina Pacheco (Soprano); Libretto based on the books Wired for Sound by Beverly Biderman, Miss Leavitt’s Stars by George Johnson, and the Fragments of Empedocles, and the poetry of Antero de Quental, among other texts.

Carlos Alberto Augusto has worked mainly in the composition for theater and theater-music, with dozens of creations for various groups, especially the regular collaborations with the Teatro da Rainha. His music has in most cases a strong theatrical component. He studied with Murray Schaeffer and Barry Truax, in addition to having collaborated with the composer Constance Capdeville. New digital media and video represent now the core of Augusto's activity, as a musician and sound designer. He has developed an intense research work and writing in the area of ​​"acoustic ecology". He worked in research, legislation, standardization and control of noise.

Marina Pacheco studied with Pedro Telles (Maiorff), José de Oliveira Lopes (ESMAE), Antonio Salgado and Sofia Sierra (UCP). In 2010/2011, he joined the Vlamsee Operastudio (Gent, Belgium). She was awarded 1st prize in the Young Musicians Award RTP / Antena 2, in the higher level (Portugal, 2012). Marina Pacheco performs regularly in concert in Portugal and abroad and has the professional supervision of conductor Marc Tardue. She played more than ten roles in opera and was a soloist in several works of oratory. She often presents chamber music in recital with the pianist Olga Amaro. Marina Pacheco performs regularly music from contemporary composers - in 2013 participated in the opera A Laugh to Cry by Miguel Azguime and together with Olga Amaro, recorded "Lemuria Songs", a CD that includes works of several Portuguese composers of our time.

"TMIE: standing on the threshold of the outside world" is sponsored by Widex

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