Tuesday, August 22, 2017Light Snow -5°C
Music

Guest Review: Digital Baroque Opera Le Pop de L'Époque

Posted by Greg / June 25, 2013

20130625-PartyLikeIts1699.pngThe digital baroque opera Le Pop de L'Époque premiered on Saturday at Théâtre St-James, a beautiful old bank building, as part of the Montreal Baroque Festival. The evening featured decadent costumes, period instruments, and holographic performances by Syngja, D'eon, Irina Lăzăreanu, Majical Cloudz, and many others. The following is a guest review by Brian Cowan, a professor of early modern British history at McGill University.

It's not everyday that you get to see a court masque in Montreal. And I've never seen an original court masque performed with iPhones, iMacs, and non-i-prefixed musicians live in the flesh, until the performance of Le Pop de L'Époque at the Saint James Theatre on June 22. Just like the courtiers who were entertained at Versailles by the ballets and masques performed for the Sun King, the audience for Aleks Schürmer and Frances Adair's digital baroque opera, enjoyed music, dance and visual display mixed together in a highly innovative reworking of past traditions for our present pleasure.

The great culture war of the age of Louis XIV was fought between the ancients and the moderns. It might be hard for us to understand that both sides in this battle agreed that the classical past (for them, this meant the great age of Greek and Roman antiquity) was the height of cultural achievement. Both the ancients and the moderns agreed that antiquity was awesome. Their debate focused on how to best appreciate and understand that classical past. Was it through the 'modern' sciences of archaeloogy, philology, and source-based historical study? Or was it through the tried and true 'ancient' method of imitating classically inspired literary forms? In this respect then, Le Pop de L'Époque is more ancient that modern, which means it is far from dry as dust historical reconstruction. Paradoxically, the ancient is the hippest, most contemporary art around. This was no reconstruction of the 'authentic' court masque; it was fresh, new art inspired by la gloire of a now long lost and heavily mythologized past.

In an age of retro-recycling of everything, it was only a matter of time before l'age classique, as the French refer to the reign of Louis XIV, would get recycled too. The evening began with poetry readings near the basement vault from Ashley Opheim and Guillaume Morisette, where some 'clasic' poems of Anne Finch, Walt Whitman, were juxtaposed with their own original compositions. It was followed by a multimedia performance in the main hall with a massive projection on the wall of characters such as Mother Earth; Fauna; Phèdre and her son; the furies; an angel and her puppy; precious twinky angels; Queer bb janglez; a tallwhite-socialite; some ladies-who-lunch; Hercules; Neptune; a Merfriend; Neptune's Conch Blowing Bottom Boy; and last but not least, a Boy-in-Clam-With Pearl. You really had to be there to get the full picture.

The performance itself was spellbinding and unlike anything I've seen, ancient or modern, in a long time. The live musical performance, highlighted by a long harpsichord solo performance by Erin Hillyard, maintained the immediacy and humanity of the whole experience. This was a much more interesting, and much more faithful, tribute to eighteenth-century culture than say, the recent production of Michael Sturminger and Martin Haselböck's The Giacomo Variations, which was performed with John Malkovich and company at the Place des Arts earlier this month. Let's hope that this first performance of Le Pop de L'Époque will not be its last.

Brian Cowan is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History at McGill University. He is the author of two books, The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse and The State Trial of Doctor Henry Sacheverell, and co-editor of the Journal of British Studies.

For photos of the evening, see Tyr Jami's flickr stream.

Discussion

18 Comments

jaxov / July 1, 2013 at 07:05 am
user-pic
My brother suggested I might like this website.
He was totally right. This put up truly made my day. You cann't imagine simply how so much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!
www.infusionart.co.uk / September 1, 2014 at 05:29 pm
user-pic
hey there and thank you for your information – I've definitely picked up anything new from right here.
I did however expertise several technical points using this
website, since I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I
could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if
your web hosting is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but slow loading instances
times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your high
quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
Well I'm adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of your respective intriguing content.
Make sure you update this again very soon.
Music Wall Stickers / September 1, 2014 at 07:01 pm
user-pic
Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog
and wanted to mention that I've really enjoyed browsing your
weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your feed and I hope you write once more soon!
Curt / September 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm
user-pic
Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow
you if that would be ok. I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.
atomizerwick.com / September 21, 2014 at 07:16 am
user-pic
Good post. I'm experiencing many of these issues as well..

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: missing ) at offset 27 in /home/freshdaily/midnightpoutine.ca/freshdaily/framework/models/entry.php on line 62
Military Friendly College Programs / September 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm
user-pic
This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking
more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!
St. Joseph Mo Wedding DJs / September 30, 2014 at 01:11 pm
user-pic
Hi to all, for the reason that I am actually keen of reading
this weblog's post to be updated daily. It consists of fastidious data.
www.youtube.com / October 6, 2014 at 08:07 pm
user-pic
Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out.
Please let me know where you got your theme. With thanks
hardquotes.com / January 8, 2015 at 04:10 am
user-pic
Paragraph writing is also a fun, if you be acquainted with after that you can write or else it is
complex to write.
Sherry / January 28, 2015 at 05:54 am
user-pic
It is not my first time to pay a visit this website, i am browsing
this website dailly and get fastidious information from here all the time.


website (Sherry)
factor plaid sleeve / April 10, 2015 at 05:06 pm
user-pic
What i do not realize is if truth be told how you're no longer actually
much more neatly-liked than you may be now. You're very intelligent.
You recognize therefore significantly on the subject of this subject, produced me personally imagine it from so many varied
angles. Its like men and women aren't fascinated unless it is something to accomplish with Girl gaga!
Your own stuffs great. At all times take care of it up!
More Info / March 29, 2016 at 08:15 am
user-pic

Hurrah! After all I got a web site from where I be capable of truly obtain valuable information concerning my study and knowledge.
wallpaper / April 3, 2016 at 01:02 am
user-pic

Hello, after reading this remarkable post i am too delighted
to share my familiarity here with friends.
ImaVBirckett / June 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm
user-pic
I like it when folks combine and share ideas. Great blog,
keep it going!
MaxwellFPion / November 23, 2016 at 01:14 pm
user-pic
This part of writing is actually a nice one it helps new the net viewers, who are wishing for
blogging.
LeoJGorovitz / December 13, 2016 at 08:31 am
user-pic
Simply wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your put up is just great and that i could think you're
knowledgeable on this subject. Fine along with your permission allow me to grab
your feed to stay updated with approaching post. Thanks a
million and please continue the gratifying work.
VerenaWKufel / January 29, 2017 at 04:13 am
user-pic
Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you currently using?
Should I obtain your affiliate connect to your host? I wish my
internet site loaded as quickly as yours lol
StormyCColes / February 8, 2017 at 01:39 pm
user-pic
Hello There. I discovered your blog site using msn. This can be an extremely well written article.
I will make certain to bookmark it and return to read through even more of your useful information. Many thanks
for the post. I will definitely return.

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Toronto