Now that Against the Grain are in the process of completing their da Ponte trio with A Little Too Cozy enquiring minds want to know where the genre of site specific updating goes next. And who better to do this than the formidable combined artistic brain power of my loyal readers (even the Bolshie ones). Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to outline (in the Comments) a possible scenario for a site specific updating of a canonical opera. Here’s mine:
Flo, a gender fluid environmental activist, has been detained by the Toronto Police Service (under the provisions of Bill C51) for protest activities related to the Keystone XL pipeline. Can his/her equally gender fluid partner Leo, who has managed to get a job at the prison where s/he is held, find a way to bring the case to public notice, despite the indifference of the mainstream media, before a sinister combination of the Toronto Police Association and the mayor’s office find a permanent way of avoiding such embarrassment? To be staged in the former condemned cell at the Don Jail.
And here’s one for the Brits:
Peter, a laid off filleter from the Bird’s Eye plant in Grimsby, has heard disturbing rumours about child labour since the plant was acquired by Northern Foods. The locals resent his attempts to interfere in what’s left of the local economy. Artefacts related to a missing child worker (supplied to the plant under the Conservative government’s plan to make all state school pupils do compulsory work experience in dying industries) are found when Peter is evicted from his council flat to make room for a new Russian luxury housing development. Peter mysteriously disappears. To be staged on the burnt out pile of rubble that used to be Bird’s Eye Grimsby.
An irresistible femme fatale is posing for a new installation piece by Michael Snow to be unveiled as part of Nuit Blanche 2017 when her husband enters to find them ‘in flagrante delicto’ and keels over from a heart attack. Despite being shocked by her indifference to her spouse’s death he nonetheless continues to see her, figuring that he (and every other male character in the opera) can always blame her later for his own actions if that proves convenient. Later, it is revealed that Moses Znaimer has been interested in her as well, and has been using his influence in the media to advance her career as a singer. Driven to the edge, and beyond, by her amorality the artist kills himself leaving our heroine free to marry the media tycoon. Eventually this relationship sours as well, culminating in her shooting him. Fortunately a new admirer turns up in the shape of Premier Kathleen Wynne and whisks her out of jail. Destitute, she ends up prostituting herself and her story ends tragically when she is murdered by President Trump who is in Toronto on an official state visit. To be staged in Queen’s Park Legislative Chamber.