FUNDED! This project was successfully funded on 03 August, 2012. Find other projects
"OPERA POVERA: TO VALERIE SOLANAS AND MARILYN MONROE..."
- Theater Arts
- Visual Arts
Opera Povera is staging Pauline Oliveros's "To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation" on July 26, 27, 28, the first week of the ninth annual New Original Works Festival of REDCAT
We are trying to raise money to build our costumes and cover the ridiculously costly commitment that opera requires. Juliana Snapper and the designers are donating far too many hours. In the last days of the count-down to our show, please help us with a gift of support. We really need the help.
It's Pauline's 80th birthday celebration this year. Please help us honor her creative commitment with our staging of this phenomenal work.
We need $7,000 as soon as possible.
The monetary structure and production culture of creating new opera in Los Angeles has been prohibitively resistant to musical innovations involving certain key experimental processes that are now common among practicing musicians and performance artists. Musical and theoretical practices engaged with interdisciplinary art, physical or political conception, and more so, creative social praxis and experimental forms have been neglected. There are many new creative resources to be considered in the building and development of new, staged, musical works.
In proposing a work for Juliana Snapper, these thoughts were very much on our frustrated and operatically deprived minds. Because we both followers of her work, we felt a strong creative draw to realize a performance of Oliveros’s groundbreaking, politically conceptual light/sound composition titled "To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation". Premiered in 1970, this innovative work details a system of conductor's gestures that lead musicians through liminal performative states, fusing bright, coloristic illumination and timbre at the edge of instrumental practice and improvisation.
Although the piece was written with directions for lighting system and instrumental approach, there are political subtexts. I feel as if the slow-shifting spectra of the infinite colors paired with the instrumental approach imply something meaningful in the title. Marilyn and Valerie are far apart on the spectrum of how gender functioned for these women and I feel encouraged by Pauline's monolithically multiplicitous structure to view gender in a similar, spectral way. Staged in front of floating white sculptures by Paula Cronan, onto which the intense colored lights are focused, an elaborate, slow motion, clock-like dance unfolds in time. A rabbit glows, a snail emerges, a turtle and hare metaphor forms and de-materializes.
Pauline writes: “Shortly after it was published in 1968 the SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas fell into my hands. Intrigued by the egalitarian feminist principles set forth in the Manifesto, I wanted to incorporate them in the structure of a new piece that I was composing. The women's movement was surfacing and I felt the need to express my resonance with this energy. Marilyn Monroe had taken her own life. Valerie Solanas had attempted to take the life of Andy Warhol. Both women seemed to be desperate and caught in the traps of inequality: Monroe needed to be recognized for her talent as an actress. Solanas wished to be supported for her own creative work. Commissioned by the Music Department of Hope College, Holland Michigan, To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation had its premiere in 1970. Though everyone knew Marilyn Monroe hardly anyone recognized Valerie Solanas or took her Manifesto seriously. I brought the names of these two women together in the title of the piece to draw attention to their inequality and to dedicate the piece.”