In the sort of venture normally undertaken by practitioners of Improv or other forms that would be more commonly identified with interactivity and community collaboration, ENO are taking the opportunity to broaden the scope of contemporary opera by bringing together renowned composers, musicians, and sound artists with members of the public, under the banner of Satyagraha: Remix.
On Sunday March 7, the company is inviting members of the public to bring along instruments, vocal cords, and 'some inspiration' to the Coliseum, where they will get a chance to explore the politics and art of Philip Glass' Satyagraha, the composer's semi-narrative opera on the early life of Mahatma Gandhi that is currently in revival at the house. Organised specifically by ENO Baylis, the company's learning and participation team, the event boasts an extremely impressive array of contemporary artists. These include; the renowned American sound artist Sam Godin, the always-fascinating classically trained Indian (but Western-inflected in style) singer Falu (who has collaborated with A.R. Rahman, Yo Yo Ma and, most signally here, Philip Glass), and the British composer Anna Meredith, member of the Camberwell Three, and fresh off her recent appearance in the BBC’s popular Classic Goldie programme of summer 2009.
The event will feature original music from all three, alongside remixes of music from Satyagraha, and interaction and collaboration with members of the public, who will be encouraged to create their own 'minimalist loops'. Different styles, from Asian electronica, to contemporary classical, to minimalist pop, will infuse the show, whilst the philosophical issues of the opera will bubble under as subtext and inspiration for the performance of poet DJ Charlie Dark, who is also involved. A quartet of classical Indian musicians, and VJs from Maskomi, complete the assembly.
The line-up promises an eclectic range of styles and opinions will be available to the public, and this, along with the rich seam of ideas contained within the astute and affecting score itself, suggests serious potential for the event.
Photo by Alastair Muir