Aviva Players will present two Sci-Fi chamber opera films on November 4 at 7:00 PM at Opera America, 330 Seventh Ave., NYC. "Villa Diodati" by Mira J. Spektor (Bank Street Films) is an opera about the origins of the Frankenstein story. "Libertaria" by Sabrina Pena Young is a futuristic animated comic book opera.
VILLA DIODATI (:73) offers a new perspective on the Frankenstein story and has just been released on DVD by Albany Records. It is composed by Mira J. Spektor with libretto by Colette Inez and features the poetry of notorious Romantic poets Byron, Shelley, and Wordsworth. The plot revolves around the fateful events of 1816 when Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley penned "Frankenstein" while staying at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva with her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. A contemporary American couple on a Swiss train finds themselves thrown into the past and into the lakefront villa on the dreary summer day when Mary Shelley is creating her monster. Later that night, Mary will be haunted by her creation and also by the ghost of her Mother, the British feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. The famous couples fantasize about ghosts and monsters while privately facing their inner demons. Today the haunted Villa Diodati still stands as a landmark, overlooking Lake Geneva.
The piece was filmed live at the York Theatre at Saint Peter's Church in New York City in 2012, produced by Gabriel Nussbaum for Bank Street Films, directed for the stage by Rob Urbinati with musical direction by Barbara Ames. It was performed by Rachel Arky, Angela Leson, Mike Longo, Jeremy Moore, Hillary Schranze, and Rachel Zadkoff.
LIBERTARIA: THE VIRTUAL OPERA (:55) is an electronic opera set to animation by experimental composer Sabrina Pena Young. It depicts a futuristic dystopia in which a teen named Libertaria escapes the GenTech Factory and teams up with her addicted father to defeat reverse-aging geneticists with a cyborg army. This sci-fi thriller was created in 2013 using Moviestorm. It may be the world's first original machinima opera and is certainly one of the few animated comic book operas.
Its score is a combination of traditional musical theater/opera, electroacoustic music, and a touch of jazz, with a riveting cinematic soundtrack. Critics have called the production "groundbreaking" and "Wagner 2.0." The production includes a live international cast and film crew, virtual choirs, sound synthesis, and contemporary choral writing. It was produced entirely online using crowdsourcing, social networking, and the Internet. It features Joe Cameron, Perry R. Cook, Gracia Gillund, Jennifer Hermansky, Matthew Meadows, Kate Sikora, Gretchen Suarez-Pena and Yvette Teel.
The Aviva Players, dedicated to the rich repertoire of chamber music and songs by women composers of the 12th to 21st Centuries, was founded in 1975 by Mira J. Spektor and has brought a new perspective to music programming. This two-part evening is the second installment of their 40th Anniversary Series, which is being entirely presented at Opera America. The first installment was "Songs, Piano Rags & Chamber Music by Women Composers, including the Piano Trio by Fanny Mendelssohn" on October 16. Aviva Players will present "That Certain Age: Short Operas about Aging with Grace & Humor" by various composers to close the series on December 1. For info on these other concerts, see www.jsnyc.com/season/aviva.htm.
THE CULTURE NEWS strongly recommends you attend this rare and unique opportunity to see these two sci-fi chamber opera films, wonderfully composed and interpreted by amazing artists.