Visionaire Presents GLASS HANDEL

Visionaire Presents GLASS HANDEL

Glass Handel at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia on September 22-23, 30, 2018

 Glass Handel at the Cathedral of Saint John The Divine in NYC on November 26-27, 2018

GLASS HANDEL 
Anthony Roth Costanzo Visionaire Cath Brittan
The Barnes Foundation during the Opera Philadelphia O Festival, Philadelphia
September 22–23, 30, 2018
The Cathedral of Saint John The Divine, New York City
November 26-27, 2018

World-renowned countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo teams up with Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos, the co-founders of art and fashion publication Visionaire, to create a multimedia installation. Combining music, fashion, live painting, dance, and film, it premiered in a sold-out run at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O Festival, on September 22–23, 30, 2018 and continued on to NYC’s Cathedral of Saint John The Divine for 4 sold-out performances on November 26-27, 2018. 

“Anthony’s desire and enthusiasm to bring opera to a larger audience was infectious,” says Dean. “He is so plugged in to all the creative industries. He knows dancers and painters and writers. He doesn’t just operate within the world of opera.” Dean says that she wanted to help him create an interdisciplinary production that would reflect his way of thinking. This kind of immersive installation is the natural evolution of Visionaire as it re-focuses from print to experience and film. 

Costanzo sings with a 36-piece orchestra while artist George Condo paints on a semi-transparent scrim in real time to the music; ballet stars David Hallberg, Patricia Delgado, Ricky Ubeda, Zoe Zien, and Daniel Applebaum perform a dance choreographed by Tony Award winner Justin Peck, the resident choreographer of New York City Ballet; CALVIN KLEIN will wardrobe Costanzo, along with the dancers, orchestra, and people- movers (more about them later) in costumes designed by the brand’s Chief Creative Officer, Raf Simons; and a massive screen will stream a series of opera music videos synced to play along with the songs Costanzo performs. 

That last element—music video—was the first one that came to Dean’s mind. “The first thing I said was, ‘We have to do opera music videos. You’ve got to do something that can be shared online,’” she recalls. “That’s the problem with opera. There’s nothing to share online. And, now, everything is consumed on our phones.” 

Opera “music videos,” incorporated into the installation and shareable online, are directed by: filmmakers James Ivory & Pix Talarico, Daniel Askill, Mark Romanek, Rupert Sanders; the duo behind Toiletpaper Magazine Maurizio Cattelan & Pierpaolo Ferrari; Tilda Swinton & Sandro Kopp; painter Mickalene Thomas; multi- disciplinary collective AES+F; Visionaire’s own James Kaliardos directing Marisa Tomei; and Chinese multi-media artist Tianzhuo Chen. 

There is one more piece to the puzzle: Each audience member’s chair will be wheeled to a different part of the space at least three times during the show. The cantilevered device being used to execute this feat was created by the performance artist Ryan McNamara, whose interactive dance/art exhibitions have made him, according to The New Yorker, “a darling of the art and fashion beaux mondes.” The immersive nature of the show brings the audience closer to the act of performing such demanding material. “You’re sitting next to a violinist who’s plucking the same note 50 times,” says Dean. “When you get close to it, you see all the individual human efforts that go into making the spectacle as a whole.” 

The people movers, as they are called, wheel audience members every 10-15 minutes. While one audience member experiences “Liquid Days” as a music video, another will experience it as a dance. But the audience member who sees, say, Patricia Delgado dance “Liquid Days” at the beginning of the program will have a very different experience from the person who sees David Hallberg dance the same choreography to wildly different music at the end of the program. Repetition is not the same. 

“This event is kind of a big experiment,” says Dean. “I imagine that some people will think, ‘This is the culture of ADD. We can’t focus on one thing.’ I think, no, it’ll be a spectacle, because there’s going to be a lot of stuff going on. But, when you focus on what’s in front of you, then you can have a truly intimate experience.” 

For Costanzo, “Glass Handel” is about translating music into different artistic languages as a way of reaching more people. “Beauty and art, I feel, are really important to creating understanding and empathy,” he says. “With everything that’s happened now in our world, I feel that those are two really important qualities to try and elicit. I wanted to create something that basically could just engage people in the music in different ways.”

The premiere at Barnes coincided with Costanzo’s first album release on Decca Gold, titled ARC, of works by Philip Glass and Handel. 

 

GLASS HANDEL 
Anthony Roth Costanzo Visionaire Cath Brittan
The Barnes Foundation during the Opera Philadelphia O Festival, Philadelphia
September 22–23, 30, 2018
The Cathedral of Saint John The Divine, New York City
November 26-27, 2018
#GlassHandel  @visionaireworld @arcostanzo