'…a breath of fresh air for contemporary opera lovers.’ OperaWire
Valgeir Sigurdsson's music-theatre work, Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists, has received its digital US premiere at the NY-based PROTOTYPE Festival, streaming from 10-16 January.
'Sigurdsson's music, electronic or electronically coloured, with floating vocal lines for folkish and operatically opulent sopranos and baritone, evokes a dreamlike state merging humans with butterflies and moths. The music is suitably dreamy, and the whole thing comes magically to life…'Opera (John Rockwell), March 2021
'…a multidimensional body of lyrical expressions that challenges perspectives around what opera-theatre is by showing one what opera-theatre can be…“Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists” is a renewed hope for opera-theatre and a breath of fresh air for contemporary opera lovers.'OperaWire.com (Jennifer Pyron), February 2021
Inspired by A. Rawlings's book of the same name, the 70-minute work is scored for three singers, four musicians and electronics and is a fascinating meditation on the stages of sleep and the life cycle of lepidopterae (the study of moths and butterflies).
It blurs the borders between dreams and reality, conjuring an ethereal and visceral world of cyclic metamorphosis through music, puppetry and moving scenography. Each of the three singers embody personae within the original text; The Somnopterist, The Insomniac and The Lepidopterist. They share the stage with a three-piece band and The Weaver who spins his silky threads and weaves a cloth of dreams…
"It’s a story, it’s not a story.It has elements of story.Pattern your breath on the sound of moth wings, magnified and frenzied, as you fight for sleep in a suffocating tangle of sheets. This is a poetic fantasia, an erotic nightmare-scape. So we dream the same – do we dream the same? Even when the body falls asleep, the brain’s hearing pathways do not shut down. Even in the hours of deepest slumber, sound can be imprinted on your memory."
Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists originally premiered at the Reykjavik Arts Festival in 2014 in a production by VaVaVoom Theatre and Bedroom Community, with performers including Sasha Siem, Ásgerður Júníusdóttir, Alexi Murdoch, James McVinnie and Liam Byrne.
See extracts from the original production on this video trailer: