by Davið Brynjar Franzson, a rawlings, Halldór Arnar Úlfarsson, Davyde Wachell, and Ensemble Adapter
Longitude is a chamber opera. For the opera, I oversaw composition of the reactive libretto.
Longitude is an exploration of contradictory identities – hero/traitor/colonizer/liberator – that an individual occupies when his actions are viewed from different ideological perspectives. It explores how the breach between internal and societal ethics causes dissonance between these perceived identities, and how languages/taxonomies create conflicting identities that name what is seen and felt in a process of colonization.
Described by the Los Angeles Times as “sonically imaginative … colonial and landscape driven … part installation, all mood,” Longitude discards preconceived notions of the theatre, immersing the audience inside the piece as it unfolds. A narrative slowly emerges as sounds, actions, and images territorialize the space in-between and around the audience.
The overall feel of the piece is part installation and part stage-work. The music, staging, video, and lighting all go together to communicate the subject matter of the opera rather than relying on traditional theatrical or text-based means. Rather than present the topic as an historic essay, colonization and ideological failure are explored as process, action, and physical material.
The opera premiered as part of Oslo’s Ultima Festival in September 2014.