World-renowned countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo teams up with Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos, our co-founders, to create a multimedia installation. Combining music, fashion, live painting, dance, and film, it premieres at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O Festival, on September 22-23, 30 and at the Cathedral of Saint John The Divine in New York on November 26-27, 2018.
“Anthony’s desire and enthusiasm to bring opera to a larger audience was infectious,” says Dean. “He is so plugged in to all the creative industries. He knows dancers and painters and writers. He doesn’t just operate within the world of of opera.” Dean says that she wanted to help him create an interdisciplinary production that would reflect his way of thinking.
For the installation, Costanzo and the orchestra perform on a stage. Behind them, artist George Condo paints on a semi-transparent scrim in real time to the music; ballet stars David Hallberg and Patricia Delgado perform a dance choreographed by Tony Award winner Justin Peck, the resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet; CALVIN KLEIN will wardrobe Costanzo, along with the dancers, orchestra, and people-movers (more about them later) in costumes designed by the brand’s Chief Creative Officer, Raf Simons; and screens stream a series of music videos synced to play along with the songs Costanzo performs.
The last element—music video—was the first one that came to Dean’s mind. “The first thing I said was, ‘We have to do opera music videos. You’ve got to do something that can be shared online,’” she recalls. “That’s the problem with opera. There’s nothing to share online. And, now, everything is consumed on our phones.”
Opera “music videos,” incorporated into the installation and shareable online, will be directed by: filmmakers James Ivory and Pix Talarico, Daniel Askill, Mark Romanek, Rupert Sanders; the duo behind Toiletpaper Magazine Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari; painter Mickalene Thomas; multi-disciplinary collective AES+F; and Chinese multi-media artist Tenzhou Chen.
There is one more piece to the puzzle: Each audience member’s chair will be wheeled to a different part of the space at least once during the show. The cantilevered device being used to execute this feat was created by the performance artist Ryan McNamara, whose interactive dance/ art exhibitions have made him, according to The New Yorker, “a darling of the art and fashion beaux mondes.” The immersive nature of the show brings the audience closer to the act of performing such demanding material. “You’re sitting next to a violinist who’s plucking the same note 50 times,” says Dean. “When you get close to it, you see all the individual human efforts that go into making the spectacle as a whole.”
For more information:
VISIONAIRE c/o Beatrice Smith at Black Frame 212 226 2196 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Roth Costanzo c/o Aleba Gartner 212 206 1450 / email@example.com
Anthony Roth Costanzo by George Condo