Opera Aperta

31 March 2021, 19:30 - 20:30

Cambridge Festival logo, pink background, white circle with the words Cambridge Festival written inside and an illustration of speech bubble divided into many shapes. Text and speech bubble is pink.

Opera Aperta, operaapertaproject.com, a collaborative performing group formed by Anglia Ruskin University staff, students and alumni, explores the relation between texts and approaches to music, sound and image. Each piece developed by the group examines text as a basis of a generative compositional process in an experimental manner.  

Opera Aperta has a dual meaning: it translates as ‘open work’, alluding to the famous book of that title by Umberto Eco; this is pertinent in relation to the kinds of scores, work formations, collaboration and libretti that they put together. The other meaning is a sense of this openness in relation to opera as a genre. This is almost like going back to certain basics for opera: a kind of intermedia relationship between text, image, voice and sound, and an interest in classical as well as modern and contemporary texts. An almost elemental approach to materials often characterises the works.

David Ryan with members of Opera Aperta, present experience extracts from recent works-in-progress including Aphorisms 2 – The Modern Monologue (texts by numerous authors) New - Gertrude Stein Piece (2019/2020) Three Catullus Fragments (2019/2020) and Here and Now (Text by Leonardo Sciascia). All of these pieces were initiated and produced during lockdown.
Flexibility is a key to the work of Opera Aperta. Most of the pieces are conceived as palettes of materials that can be activated by the demands of a space or format. The group assemble a kind of bespoke version for each space and it can be immersive or intimate as the situation dictates, and in this set of works they respond to the challenge of distance performing.

During the event you will be invited to ask questions around the pieces presented as well as the general approach of the group.

David Ryan is a visual artist as well as improvising musician. Mainly autodidact as a clarinettist. He has worked with numerous composers including Michael Parsons, Earle Brown, Catherine Lamb, Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock and Christophe Guiraud, and many musicians including Anton Lukoszevieze, John Edwards, Ian Mitchell, Alberto Popolla, John Tilbury, Luca Venitucci, Gianni Trovalusci amongst others. In 2015 he curated a large-scale exhibition looking at the relationship between drawing and musical notation at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich. Ryan has also performed and broadcast for Danish Radio, UNAM Mexico, BBC Radio 3, Resonance FM, Glasgow CCA, Radio Slovenjia, Sky Italia Classica TV, and numerous Festivals, including Sonic Illuminations, British Film Institute, London (2009); and Namusica (2013/14), Naples, Italy. He has participated in the Venice Music Biennale (2015) a which was a collaboration with Italian composer Nicola Sani, and the AngelicA Festival, Bologna (2016).  Screenings of his video works have taken place at Konzerthaus, Berlin; Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire; Issue Project Space, New York; Darmstadt Ferienkurse for Neue Musik, and Qo2 in Brussels, Belgium.  He has collaborated with various ensembles including the London Improvisers Orchestra, Apartment House and Konzert Minimal, Berlin. He has performed works by John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Cornelius Cardew, and has been involved in premieres of pieces by Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, and Phill Niblock, amongst many others. Recent compositions include Provisional Piano Pieces (2018 -) and Recitativo– Fragments after Lucretius and Negri (2015-18), Aphorisms, (2019) Aphorisms 2 : The Modern Monologue (2020). In 2016 he was an Abbey Fellow at the British School at Rome.  In 2018 he formed Opera Aperta with a core of colleagues from ARU to explore image/sound/text in performance.

The event is part of Cambridge Festival 2021.


Event Details

31 March 2021, 19:30 - 20:30
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