This is the second time we have interviewed Aliana de la Guardia of Guerilla Opera, and we welcome her back. Both Aliana and Guerilla Opera, a team-led opera company headquartered in Boston, are doing some of the most innovative work in American Opera today. Unlike other emerging companies that try to grow by doing scaled-down performances of The Marriage of Figaro and other standard fare, Guerrilla is constantly breaking new ground and developing works that challenge audiences. The result? Excitement.
A New Opera that Combines Music, Dance and American Sign Language
Barry Lenson of Classical Archives recently interviewed Aliana de la Guardia about a new work in development at Guerilla Opera, Ululations and Gurgles of the Invisible by composer Elisabet Curbelo and Antoine Hunter of the Urban Jazz Dance Company. Ululations promises to be a surrealist experience, where visual and auditory experiences are connected through the use of wearable motion-sensor controllers. The work is performed using American (ASL) Sign Language. Is this really an opera that incorporates ASL? Yes, it is.
Inspired by the poems of Federico García Lorca, Ululations is a 4-part work for soprano, percussion, piano, and dancers from the deaf community that investigates themes of isolation, oppression, communication, community, and transcendence.
Sign language is traditionally used as a medium to communicate to a non-hearing audience. Ululations breaks this tradition by uniquely centering the use of ASL as the driving force of the opera. The singer is not the only performer carrying the narrative of the work through the performance of text. All the musicians in the ensemble perform in ASL while simultaneously playing their instruments. And the dancers employ ASL as well.
Before our interview with Aliana, de la Guardia, we would like to share this video that shows this new opera as it is coming to life.
Classical Archives and Aliana de la Guardia Discuss Ululations
And now, please enjoy this conversation between Aliana de la Guardia and Barry Lenson of Classical Archives . . .