The Opera Aperta project has grown out of the Arts Council England funded Recitativo/Clouds and Noise – Fragments After Lucretius and Negri, a video/performance project focusing on text/image/sound. Opera Aperta enlarges the creative parameters of the latter project and is initiating several new projects that explore the relation between genres, texts, and approaches to music, sound and image. Opera Aperta has a dual meaning: it translates as ‘open work’, alluding to the famous book of that title by Umberto Eco; this is pertinent in relation to the kinds of scores, work formations, collaboration and libretti that we are putting together. The other meaning is a sense of this openness in relation to opera as a genre. This is almost like going back to certain basics for opera: an intermedia relationship between text, image, voice and sound, and an interest in classical as well as modern and contemporary texts. An elemental approach to materials.

Recent works-in-progress include Aphorisms (2019) and Aphorisms 2 – The Modern Monologue (2020) New – Gertrude Stein Piece (2019/2020) Three Catullus Fragments (2019/2020) and Here and Now (2020).

Flexibility is a key to the work of Opera Aperta. Most of the pieces are simply palettes of materials that can be activated by the demands of a space. The fragments of these pieces are like archaeological or sculptural fragments. This means we can perform in many different situations – numerous galleries, libraries, lecture theatres, TV Studios, radio broadcasts, and theatres as well as other spaces. We assemble a kind of bespoke version for each space and it can be immersive or intimate as the situation dictates.

The core members of Opera Aperta are:

Cristina Grifone, soprano

Kelcy Davenport, speaker

William Crosby, guitar

Joe Zeitlin, ’cello

Justyna Latoch, video

David Ryan, co-ordinator, direction, composition, video, clarinets

Guest contributors include: Kevin Flanagan, bass clarinet; Krisztian Hoftstadter, electronics, sound projection; Dominic Lash, contrabass, Ian Mitchell, clarinet, bass clarinet; Leo Oakley, violin; Care Simmonds, piano; Sally Stenton, speaker; Simon Allen, percussion; Luca Innocenti, organ.

*With thanks to the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research and Innovation fund at Anglia Ruskin University for financial support.