summing up war. or just speaking of it

the multimedia opera “war sum up” in latvian national opera was a surprise.

ok, it was a positive experience of quality modern music and multimedia environment.

excellent voices. mostly decent minimalist music. perfect costumes and picture play, stage design and movements. reminded me of the noh theatre with costume design based on ‘9’ (an animation film), especially with the steam-powered superWoman character.

what i’d have done differently? i’d have left out the microphone enhancements except the scenes where echoes are necessary. that way, each singer would have a voice, instead of the heaps of amplifiers on the two sides of the stage.

the pictures. very very, very appropriate for the feeling of the current post-war, post-existence, post-memory time. very appropriate for the deaf world we live in.

the dictionary entries outlining post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and treatments, various types of soldier and lists of spy jargon were .. illuminating. in places, in conjunction with the music – even funny.

actually, i found this performance incredibly funny, at the very basic levels of human existence. like when the super-woman turns up on stage (looking like 7 from the animation film 9), and everyone sings of the super-woman, and the rhythm of the music is that of a steam train. or a war machine. the femininity and the belligerence clash, creating an effect of irony.

the multimedia windows each showing a static scene from a life somewhere, sometime, were so real. this is how the world is – fragmented, not understood, misunderstood.

and, of course, i kind of enjoyed the feeling of being part of a manga cartoon. especially because of the surtitles in incredible english and latvian (which were most  ‘interesting’ in places).

so, on the whole, minus the deafening misplaced sound effects, a great show, where all the action is in the music. the latvian national opera has a great cast, and i do hope to hear some more of their performances.

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