With the current upsurge of a technological era, there is an underlying global threat to the cultural development of theatre, especially opera. Therefore, there is a need for a paradigm shift that will re-imagine and transcend opera into the 21st century.
Site-specific opera merges the potential of theatrical entertainment and the value of an existing site. Both the location and the performance have the ability to remove the audience from their lives and submerge them in a fantasy or created reality. With the focal approach being the interpretation of the Magic Flute Opera at a site-specific location, a concept of cultural heritage awareness is revealed. With this in mind, the preservation extends into a consideration of the existing site. The site, Fort Daspoortrand, is currently in a state of physical degradation, and the decay of heritage and cultural fabric is prominent. Thus, the potential for preservation and cultural celebration arises.
It is proposed that through a site-specific opera performance of William Kentridge’s adaptation of The Magic Flute by Mozart, a sense of wareness can be created for both the site and a South African interpretation of opera. The opera will catalyse the awareness of the site, and the scenography will act as a vehicle to bring site and opera together in a visual and spatial experience. Through the merging of opera and site, the heritage and cultural significance of both entities will be explored, allowing the opportunity for life to be breathed back into both the fort and opera in general.
The design intention of this project is to bring awareness to the existing fabric of the site, as well as the dramatic opportunities that the site naturally presents. In this way, the physical and cultural decay of both Fort Daspoortrand and opera are brought to the public’s attention. The intention in this creation of site awareness is to promote an afterlife for the site, by exposing its character in an attempt to ignite future development at the site once the opera has finished. Through combining opera and site, the audience will be exposed to the beauty of the site and the cultural richness of opera simultaneously. The temporary design intervention aims to strategically link the themes of The Magic Flute with the characteristics of the site to explore the relationship between narrative, fort and opera. Emphasis is placed on how to take the audience on a winding and intertwining journey of the site during the performance of the opera adaptation. The fluidity and natural progression of the audience through the site will ultimately create a reflective and emotive understanding of The Magic Flute’s theme of the journey from darkness to light.
Mini-dissertation Mint(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2018.