Listen to a short excerpt (normal stereo)
Cristian Vogel presents
The Ballad of Agnete and The Merman
18/19/20/21 June 2017 at Godsbanen Aarhus
‘The Ballad of Agnete and The Merman’ is a sonic theatre production based on a supernatural Scandinavian folk ballad. It was commissioned by the Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017 under its “ReThink” theme. Software controlled spatial sound, light and live choreographic performance reframed scenes and images derived from a modern interpretation of the old ballad, in an immersive and immediate experience. The staged version ran for four nights and was well received by all who attended.
Cristian Vogel worked on the spatial sound and choreographic score over a period of 18 months. Research into spatial sound began during his scholarship at ZKM/4DSound ‘Points On The Curve‘ programme in February 2016. An international production project followed, involving a number of technical and artistic collaborators from France, Austria, Denmark and England.
During the shows, the audience were actively immersed for over an hour in a sophisticated sound environment of multichannel sound design including wavefield synthesis, realtime vocal processing and portable electronics. The setting was a non-seated black box theatre of approximately 18m2 and 8m height. The music score was supported by tightly choreographed performance, computer controlled lighting, intricate fashion design and a large soft body inflatable form, all of which served to rapidly expand the audience’s expectations of what a spatial sound concert can be and how a story can be told. The immersive and immediate nature of the performance invited the audience to engage with the abstract phenomena of electronically generated sounds, thereby expanding the sense of space beyond physical space whilst simultaneously negotiating their own unifying role in the whole theatrical sublimation of reality.
The combined experience demonstrated that diverse narrative material, such as a folk tale, can be abstracted through technological sound art and spatial sound in particular. In this case, a powerful and sublime theatrical experience was achieved, by carefully composing advanced audio technology with immersive theatre staging. A strong catalysing factor came from the underlying thematic ambiguity which pervades the supernatural folk ballad.
What can unite us when we come from different worlds?
Spatial sound and live theatre elements will emphasise the potential we all have to become aware of our unifying presence within complex situations. Perhaps this collective experience may help to resolve Agnete and the Merman’s heartbreaking dilemma.
Thankyou to our partners:
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