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The Liar in the 24-7 Shop

The Audience creates an already created Opera

Løgneren I Døgneren – “The liar in the 24-7-shop”
is the title of a small travelling opera, which “Den rullende Opera” (The rolling Opera) has created. The plot builds on a simple action of theft from a shop, the form being that of a farce, including a lot of funny characters, and the music consisting of existing Mozart arias. Many things are put upside-down – such as the Queen of the Night’s famous coloratura aria sung by a man – as
well as the very few singers’ changing clothes into many new persons, which is timed with seconds of precision. The humour and simple plot of this opera made it fit in for children of all ages.

In other words, this is not a plot, a form, or music blocking for an immediate experience, but rather the genre: “But they stand there howling”. And when “they howl”, singers may easily appear as alienated and remote to the unused audience.

The introduction form for the opera had to be made subject to an experiment, – something which was meant to unfold in another way than just to tell a story: Plot and cast were to be recreated in co-operation with the audience. This method contained a risk for the opera itself to take another turn, but the actors agreed to this, within fair limits.

First of all the persons: One by one they were shown to the audience, in the beginning as characterless, un-blown-up “dolls”, however, though, dressed in a costume. “What kind of person is this? And why does he appear in our opera?” (“He is a pilot and is to fly us all to Thailand” – whoops… “Yes, so he is” (and Thanks God! No, he is a police sergant and is to take care of all of us”).

A plot was to be invented, and the music had to be played with (worked on) in groups (elements from the arias, coupled with the characters). And here and there there was access to “howling”, with the aim that the sound of the professional singing was not to end up becoming a barrier to experience.

The Ownership to the Opera was established!

An article has been written (Dansk Sang 2009/10 No. 2 in the series “With the Professor in the Field”). See or download as a pdf (consecutive pages or as a research result).

Photo: Michael Maximilian Hermansen)