The first full-scale opera performed in and under water, continuation/culmination part of the 5 Fathoms Opera Project.
The work was conceived, developed, performed and directed by soprano Juliana Snapper and composer Andrew Infanti. Each performance involved the collaboration of local artists, professional and amateur, from the host city.
Juliana Snapper takes on the role of an amphibious hybrid animal named Blorkra that survived an ecological disaster (see synopsis).
Listen to an episode of the podcast Soundmaking produced by musicians Matthew Shlomowitz and Håkon Stene.
In this episode (May 22, 2023), Juliana Snapper and Andrew Infanti discuss the how and why of their Opera :
Soundmaking is hosted on Acast.
Episode 105 is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music.
“Dear Blorkra” is an arietta-interlude.
Juliana Snapper's underwater vocalizations are mixed into a piano solo with live electronic (sixth-tone soft-pad synthesizer) distortion.
A remix for BBC Radio 3's Late Junction program produced by Katie Callin (@kjcallin).
A surprising result: the originally apocalyptic work takes on a "Holiday" vibe!
Watch excerpts from You Who Will emerge from the Flood…
❶ A glimpse of the Blorkra Tragedy
❷ Blorkra is the last of her kind
❸ Blorkra sees her own violent death
These excerpts show footage from performances at:
Breathing and singing underwater?
Maximizing bone conduction and controlling bubble output as part of a new vocal fabric, Juliana Snapper merges extended techniques with Baroque tropes that represent human longing and passion as aspects of weather.
Juliana Snapper becomes a modern-day siren in two ways:
— she takes on the role of Blorkra, an amphibious hybrid that survived a global ecological catastrophe.
— she utilises radical vocal techniques (see “Bouche à l'eau”) which require more than her voice being transmitted via a hydrophone.
Blorkra is a genetically-engineered amphibious posthuman living 500,000 years in the future. Her species was designed in the twenty-first century as an act of despair — in the knowledge that the earth could no longer support homo sapiens.
Attempts had to be made to diversify human anatomy in order to survive on a ruined earth. Following the extinction of humankind, Blorkra’s species has evolved and developed.
But, she may be the last of her kind. She lives in hunger and isolation between the icy depths and the sterile shore.
A dark shadow hangs over Blorkra. A boat (does she even know what this is?) has been circulating in her territory.
Blorkra is alarmed by the boat, but she is desperate to find food and for contact (with anyone). Excited and confused, she plunges into a sequence of hallucinatory trances. In these visions, she sees/hears:
— a genetic scientist named “T.I.N.A.” (“there is no alternative”) from the twenty-first century, creator of Blorkra’s species;
— A swamp dweller named “Snatch”, living in 75,000 A.D.
Can these ancestors teach her anything useful? They express only a series of vague warnings and muddled apologies in languages Blorkra doesn’t understand. Hopeful, she moves towards the shore in her gelatinous bubble; towards the shadowy figures with the boat. In her final hallucination, Blorkra sees her own violent death.