You won’t understand what’s happening:
you will feel what’s happening.
(S. Minailo – stage director)
Medúlla is an intergenerational opera inspired by Björk’s album. In 2004, the Icelandic singer brought out Medúlla, a record that sought – in reaction to 9/11 – the “core” (medulla) of humanity that we all share. In La Monnaie’s project Medúlla, a ritual takes place onstage that touches the essence of humanity in the universal language of music. Featuring children choir of 100 young singers (between 6 and 17), traditional throat singing, 4 solo singers over 55, live electronics and percussion, Medúlla explores all the possibilities of the human voice. The children are the starting point and in the imaginary society on the stage, the generation of working people (between 18 and 55) is missing on the stage. So the relations between the 2 groups are oriented towards mutual exchanges. Each group can learn from the other.
There is a story, but there is no plot. Medúlla can be seen as choreography of the singers, performance, visual and sound experience. There is always a sense of a story but it’s more about music and sensation/perception. The aim is that the audience can start to see the music, listening with its eyes instead of only with its ears. In this sense, the music is the engine that moves everything. Because of the audience’s disposition in the hall (around the stage and very close to the artists), Medúlla creates a ritualistic space in which every body feels free to become a part of the community.
In her score, Anat Spiegel weaves the new arrangements of the songs by Björk and the new compositions. Repetition is a fundamental principle in music and it’s deeply explored in the score, in order to create the ritualistic dimension of the performance. In that way, the source material can grow and explore new territories. With this work, the artistic team opens a very new musical horizon for the young generations: an opera inspired by an album of one of the most recognized stars in the world, sung by people who are not (yet) stars and supported by new vocal and electronic arrangements.
Medúlla is a very contemporary opera and offers a new vocal and visual experience to a large audience (both young and old people). Everybody can hear and see a personal representation of the society and its values, link its personal story to a tradition, build its own fiction and develop its reflection on our continuously changing world. It’s all about drama told by music.