Spatial opera in the dark

Opera Confessions was inspired by its creators’ interest in spatial electronics, and in particular – the spatial acoustic sound and its impact on imagination. They have decided to create a spatial opera in the dark, focussing on the possibilities offered by the acoustic surroundings. The Christian idea of the seven deadly sins lies at the basis of the libretto.

The seven parts of the Confessions are concerned with the seven cardinal sins – lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride. Confessions unites the authors’ long-cherished ideas of creative experiments: performance of music in the dark, involving other senses (smell, touch) and allegedly completely removing the visual aspect. However, the latter becomes the most activated factor in the listener’s imagination – through abstract soundscapes and specific pre-recorded sounds that produce strong imagery linked to feelings, sensations or objects.

How far can our imagination take us? What images are formed in our consciousness when it is irritated by the outer world? And what are those irritants that produce similar states, sensations or images? And does our imagination really become one collective imagination when we take part in a common event? In order to share and study this phenomenon as well as simply to have a good time, we produced this spatial opera Confessions.

Composer Rūta Vitkauskaitė

The Confessions focuses on other senses than seeing – the essential sense is hearing; much attention is also given to touch and smell. The opera offers very personal experience: with your eyes covered you feel surrounded by music and caught up in the vortex of events. Music in the true sense of the word smacks you in the face. The performers move in the auditorium, sometimes just an inch or two away from your head. Have you sinned today? The conception of a sin changes with time.

Composer Jens Hedman

This is an opera that relies on the power of your imagination. Sit back, close your eyes, and let’s travel together across your inner vacuum.

Singer Åsa Nordgren

Confessions is over an hour long challenge to place-time-sound-sense experience and its limits, i.e. the theatre of senses and imagination, when the relationship between spectator-viewer and the observed-performer is reversed: face covering mask here belongs to the viewer, who voluntarily waives his/her ability to see. Therefore, the question “Tell what you saw” at the end of the Confessions does not sound like a misunderstanding, since many listeners of the opera undoubtedly experience similar or even identical visual sensations.

Rima Jūraitė, Teatro žurnalas

The viewers are affected in two different ways: they are affected by surrounding sounds, sometimes functioning on a physical level, when one gets goose bumps or when their bodies crouch in fear; while the performers are whispering into ear, wave a fan, shout directly into face or splash with water, whereas the brain carries out other processes at the same time, related to creation and recreation of images. This way the viewer is balancing between increased alertness due to corporeal experiences and the dream induced by the raging imagination.

Gražina Montvidaitė, 7 meno dienos

Listening is the main way to experience the piece. Imagery flows before one’s eyes, maintained by other sensory impressions. To some viewers it was splashing of water, when sounds of the sea emerged from acoustic bustle and the smell of fish filled the space. <…> Sometimes, despite the “switched-off” vision, the performance might result in the reloading of sensations. People heavily rely on vision in their everyday life, so when they lose it a natural sense of insecurity arises, along with increased alertness and vulnerability.

Julia Weber,