La Didone

This article is from 2007

Vampires, guitars and opera. It must be New York City’s Wooster Group

For over 30 years, the most unlikely elements have been combined in the Wooster Group’s work. Everything from creaky old B-movies to cutting edge technology have been spliced together to create arresting pieces of theatre.

So when artistic director Elizabeth LeCompte approached musical director Bruce Odland about working on La Didone, she had a lot more in mind than a straightforward staging of the 1641 opera. As well as the journey of Aeneas into the unknown world of Dido’s Carthage, she wanted to show the journey of a spaceship in cult 60s movie Planet of the Vampires. Somehow, Odland has to emulate an acoustic atmosphere even though the performers would be using microphones. To do it, he uses a complex arrangement of speakers and a computer program that reproduces the acoustics of real spaces.

‘We live in an environment of waste from the industrial age which have dulled our ability to hear the subtleties of space,’ he says. ‘My first notion is how to create the feeling of listening to something delicate and beautiful for an audience in a modern theatre. The guitar is an entry point for an audience that isn’t completely attuned to the baroque music. (Mark Fisher)

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Lothian Road, 0131 473 2000, 18–22 Aug (not 20), 8pm, £10–£30. La Didone is sponsored by The List.

La Didone

The Wooster Group's production of Francesco Cavalli's opera takes up a work from the days when opera was an emerging art form and sets it down in a new world of video imagery and electric guitars. 'Part of the Edinburgh International Festival'.

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