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Alpha

Comic strip opera

The “α” opera bravely raises important social and cultural issues and challenges of the present day, evaluating them within the personal and historical contexts. Opera addresses such topics as gender equality, minority politics and crisis of great narratives. A sensational combination of two distant genres of opera and comic strips adds extravagance to the history of love and murder (led by a strong main character).

The story of the opera represents a variation on the topic of the fate of Federico Garcia Lorca, one of the most famous Spanish poets and playwrights of the 20th century. In “α”, Isabella Garcia Lorca, Federico‘s sister, returns to Spain after many years of emigration to reveal the secrets of her brother‘s fate. The circumstances of the writer‘s death still remain blurred, while his burial place was thought to have been located in the vicinity of Alfacar town in Andalusia for some time. Desire to reveal the truth is hindered by the mystery trapped in the circle of time, the same mystery that keeps reverting us back to the beginning, becoming “alpha” and “omega”.

I have devised the “α” score in admiration for flamenco melodies and the repetitive structures of minimalist music. The opera‘s rhythmic texture consists of two layers collated by the contrast principle: the constant, rhythmic pulse versus the “hovering” high-frequency ringing, as if giving voice to the uneasy silence. The actors are singing their parts in the background of these rhythmic structures, with the latter ranging from fussy recitative to heavily ornamented melodies. In the score, the vocal lines reflect in the accordion and guitar parties, which are often interlaid through vibrant electronics by creating, gradually, a thickening vertical of sounds.

Composer Albertas Navickas

Not only it is an opera – it is a “comic-strip opera” about a female superhero who is fighting both supernatural and earthly demons, about her trials and struggles in the world. To me, the “α” opera resembles a set of pages – a comic book. The “α” opera is MEGA-feminine.

Director, stage and costume designer Dr. GoraParasit

In 2019 the creative team was awarded the Golden Cross of the Stage in Opera / Operetta / Musical category.

PLOT

Part I
Isabel receives a letter from Juan, Lorca’s former lover, written before his death. Juan warns her that the person who turned Lorca in to the authorities of the time also has the knowledge to reveal the mystery of the location of Lorca’s grave.

Part II
Isabel flies to Spain to meet Luis, good friend of Lorca’s, to find out the truth. It turns out that long ago Luis and Isabel had romantic feelings towards each other, which are brought back as they meet. Luis, who was hiding at Lorca’s house prior to his arrest says that he heard the murderers talk about where they were going to shoot Lorca, hence, his burial place should be there. He claims he has been silent for so long since he himself was threatened with death.

Part III
Luis shows the burial place of Isabel’s brother, while Isabel understands something more, than mere tragic peripeteias associated with Spain’s past.

The comic strip opera “α” (Alpha) became the “dark horse” of the festival. <…> The authors, in their narration about the efforts of Federico Garcià Lorca’s sister Isabel to find out the circumstances of her brother’s murder, have employed comic strips to “partner” the opera – something never seen before in Lithuania. An original form did not overshadow the clear thought and intense expression. The play’s success was determined by vivid visual aesthetics, futurist costumes, the vocal parts brilliantly revealing the traits of the main characters (singers Nora Petročenko and Nerijus Masevičius), the instrumental part combining minimalism, flamenco style and electronics, the libretto, visually conveying the dramatic storyline. It is a piece that deserves to be brought to an international stage, addressing the burning issues of today related to strong woman and gender equality.

Rasa Murauskaitė, Kultūros barai

Aesthetics of the production flirts with feminism, comic strips and visuality of computer games; directing language employs elements of pantomime, along the conceptual score of lighting and colour. <…> English subtitles are not projected via a specially dedicated subtitling devise, but are integrated into the set of the production, projecting them as texts of the comic strip in the background of stage action – an ingenious and innovative method.

Lauma Mellēna, nra.lv

A surprisingly successful combination of opera and comic strip.

Emilija Visockaitė, 15min.lt

Alpha clearly declares that opera no longer represents a sophisticated luxurious genre – it can reflect the topical issues of today’s social and musical life and sound professional, at the same time retaining professionalism.

Justina Paltanavičiūtė, kauno.diena.lt