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Mixed Reality meets Opera in TAP: EX Augmented Opera

By: Staff –

TAP: EX Augmented Opera. (Photo: Dahlia Katz)

Tapestry Opera’s experimental series TAP:EX radically pushes the boundaries and intersections of opera combining genres such as punk rock, film, Persian classical music, physical theatre, turntablism and hip hop. The fifth installment of the series, TAP:EX Augmented Opera, in association with Vancouver’s re:Naissance Opera, takes over Sidewalk Labs’ experimental workspace – a first-time venue for the opera company – from November 20 – 23 and delves into the world of analog and digital storytelling augmentation, challenging our notion of what is real.

Conceived by Tapestry Opera’s Artistic Director Michael Hidetoshi Mori, composer Benton Roark, and co-director Debi Wong, TAP:EX Augmented Opera explores the ways we experience memories: how they are sometimes completely sensory, how specific ones haunt us, and how they change over lifetimes.

“We live in a world that pushes us to extend or augment our lived experiences through technology,” says Michael Hidetoshi Mori, Tapestry Opera’s Artistic Director. “When conceiving this opera we asked ourselves, ‘what does the 21st century offer opera?’ The result is TAP: EX Augmented Opera, which blurs the lines of what’s real and what’s not, very much mimicking the world we live in.”

This installment of TAP: EX offers a take on a Silicon Valley product launch where audiences will be invited to be the first to learn about Elysium, a new cloud-based technology that reimagines the afterlife as a perfect curation of our best memories. This fictional product draws attention to the modern world developing technologies that multiply our options and experiences, but asks us to examine what is at stake when we choose to adopt them. Audiences are invited to come early and explore Sidewalk’s bold new urban technologies as well as an early prototype of OrpheusVR, a virtual reality opera in development with re:Naissance Opera.

Vanessa Oude-Reimerink, Lyndsay Promane, Lauren Segal (last seen as M’dea in M’Dea Undone), and pianist Michael Shannon bring TAP:EX Augmented Opera to life. The three singers embody different aspects of our heroine Eurydice’s memory; they are fantasy futures she did not live, raw experiences she never processed. These powerhouse performers represent layers of perception, triggered by the happy memory uploader, Elysium.

Genre-defying composer and instrument builder Benton Roark is a two-time participant in Tapestry Opera’s LIBLAB intensive and was commissioned for the very first TAP:EX Revolutionsin an exploration of physical theatre. Roark was also commissioned by Tapestry Opera for the site-specific, Bandits in the Valley. Roark’s style has been described as “divergent” and “trippy” (Vancouver Observer) and “ardent and soaring” (The National Post).

Debi Wong is a Canadian mezzo-soprano, actor and stage-director and also the founder and artistic director of Vancouver-based opera company re:Naissance, where her adaption of Handel’s Acis & Galatea was named one 2017’s best operatic productions in Vancouver by Vancouver Classical Music.

Tickets are $40 and are available now online at https://tapestryopera.com/tickets/

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