Opera is a sound emanating from someone’s throat. Lip-syncing is the opposite. While opera lovers have long been known to silently engage with recordings in the privacy of their own homes, can a true operative performance be based on word-of-mouth?
Can Lip-Sinsor Be An Opera Star?
Absolutely, according to composer Angela Negron, who created Filmed short opera “The Island We Made” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner with director Matthew Plessk and drag queen Sasha Velor and Later day-sync-legend.
“In a recent interview, Negron said,” The idea of lip-sync – embodying someone else’s voice – was something that needed to be told to the story. “
Melancholy and meditative, “The Island We Made” doesn’t tell a story as much as a mood; Enchanted by Veena’s brilliance, this music is the electronic sound of the surroundings. Gliding between three generations, suggesting three generations – a daughter, mother and grandmother – Velor is jewel-clad and wearing a flowing lemon-colored gown as she prepares tea. A kind of space goddess, she takes her mouth to the voice of Igorial Soprano of Eliza Bugge, who sings Negron’s poetic recitation: “The back seat, my bed, that house, your face; You named me, protected me. “
“A drag queen is part thought and part human,” said Velor. “And the idea is to be very broad about the idea of fluidity and understanding and humanity beyond the part label. And I felt a sense of love that this song, this lip-sync, was going to be about.”
Velor, Negron, and Plessak joined a separate video call featuring Sarah Williams, director of new works at the Opera Philadelphia, who commissioned “The Island We Made” and is hosting a 10-minute work On its streaming platform Through November. These are excerpts from the conversation.
Saraha Williams Over the summer, we as a company were trying to explore things. Do we go into darkness, and do we survive? Or are we able to stay active? And I envisioned the digital commission series. I identified four musicians, including Angelica, and she began to tell me what she had imagined. I said, “If you can grow up, what does that look like?” And she was like Sasha Velor. I’m going crazy? “I said,” Absolutely, but I am too. Let’s go for it. “
ANG ANLICA NEGRÓN A big part of it for me was the combination of voice with the drag queen. I had a very clear picture of Eliza Bugg’s voice with Sasha’s lips.
SASHA VELOR When you drag, lip-syncing is very common, but you don’t necessarily think about it, and all the strength and tension that it represents. But when we were talking about the project, it was clear that it worked as a metaphor for the way we sometimes make room for other people’s voices and experiences – someone To try to capture and reflect them in their own way.
Negron The song really developed out of my interactions with Matthew and Sasha. Matthew has the talent to get juicy things from people, and we got personal very quickly. We realized that there is something about mothers, about women who lift us up and shape us. We also talked about the silence that can actually be deaf, which defines a lot and shapes our lives a lot.
MATTHEW PLACEK Angloica had the same idea that I had: to understand the boundaries of relationships. And then we started talking about Mother and Sasha’s figure. We belong – in the way everyone can – about mothers, and our mothers, and I started feeling like, damn, mothers are screwed. If they do this and if they do not they are at a great loss. The more I live for my mother, the more responsible I am for her. And this is unfair.
Negron One of the things I love very much about Matthew’s point of view are these symbols, these metaphors, these very concrete things that are a progression, but not a narrative formula in which you can say, “This is about , And that’s about it. ” There are definitely a bunch of things that are part of it that do not connect at all to the experiences shared with me. Seeing what he does to other symbols that have nothing to do with my childhood or my upbringing or my relationships, and my lived experience makes new meanings to those people – I think it’s very It is a big art.
PLACEK Peanut butter and graham crackers are about my mother, or part of my mother.
velor My dad thinks so I am The emphasis was on peanut butter and crackers, and it was a reference my childhood. Therefore, a good example of these things is the new meaning.
We wanted me to be a little other, a bit spiritual – like the Goddess of the queue, who brings that understanding to someone in different ways throughout her life. There was a moment when we were talking about leaving Really On the other hand, like a mad alien face; I could see it in a 70s house. But Matthew encouraged me to bring it up on a human level. Because I am not just an idea; I am also a real person. I have a relationship with my mother. I am creating channels for all these different relationships and also building my experiences.
Negron I usually start with a sound that is connected to a memory that is connected to a location that is connected to a person. In this case, my mother had this image of me cleaning the house when I was younger. And he would play these 80s ballads by Puerto Rican singers, and a song I would remember, like, the world is about to end. And a lot of domestic stuff is happening while my mom is listening to that song.
I like micro-sampling a lot, one second or something even smaller and then processing it and manipulating it and seeing it and then what happens. So that was the starting point for this song: a micro-sample of those songs which is the soundtrack of my childhood.
I also had an aesthetic sense of Matthew, and I was thinking a lot about the spaces between the notes and the silence – just the physical, very sensitive sense of silence. I wanted the song to feel like a hug. And then there was Veena, one of my favorite instruments to write to highlight the quality of this lullaby.
I did not sit down to write a poem and then put music in it. Sometimes, as I was building a sound, the word would reveal itself, if it makes sense. And at the same time I was listening to Eliza’s voice, I was imagining Sasha’s lips moving.
Williams It has been out for a little over a week now. And I am very happy to say that this was the biggest opening weekend of all our works on our digital channel. bigger than “Travata.”
Negron For the last three years, I have been writing songs for drag queens and thinking of it as an opera, a big project. I still don’t know what form it will take.
I get a question: Why do you call it opera? And it’s hard for me to say what opera is for me, but my first instinct is, like, why No What is it called opera? An opera has a lot of power in telling something and being unpublished about taking place in the opera world, which is traditionally and historically made for people who don’t look like me, and stories like my personal story don’t. . And I think it’s time; This is a time of the past.
So can your cooperation have a future?
Negron It is a dream.
velor Oh, yes, of course.
PLACEK I will follow these two off a cliff.