I sort of remember when I saw an early stage workshop of soprano Stacie Dunlop’s interpretation of Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child. I think it was back in 2019 and I remember it was in a grungy former industrial space on Sterling Road. There’s a video of/about that performance. Time has passed and the work has now been fully realised and it’s available as a 17 minute film which I’ve had a chance to watch the latter. There’s more work going on to make it the core of a longer live show.
So, Vivier’s piece was inspired, as I recall, by his time in an orphanage and it deals with the dream world of a lonely child; himself. His world is inhabited by magicians, fairies, invented language and other wonderful things. In this version Stacie is the child and the dream world is created on aerial silks by Angola Murdoch and Holly Treddenick. The costumes, make up and “scenery” (stage dressing really) are colourful and enhance the dreamlike quality.
The music, here arranged by Scott Good, for strings, two accordions and percussion, is really rather beautiful and the aesthetic of the staging and filming reflects that. “Ethereal” and “dreamlike” seem like perfectly reasonable descriptors. It’s beautifully sung and played and the aerialists are first rate.
The filming is quite “artsy” which might drive me nuts in a video of a staged opera performance but works here. There are certainly camera angles that suggest gravity is not so much being defied as obliterated! So the film exists as a work of art in its own right as well as making me curious to know what it looks like front on from ground level.
So this thing has come a long way and is now a really polished 17 minutes worth. I think the plan at this stage is to get it shown at suitable festivals; opera, theatre, circus arts? Worth catching if it does come your way.
There’s more information about the project here.