This mini opera of 20 minutes was designed to mimic the structure and methodology of a trailer (a series of excerpts from a movie or program used to advertise it in advance; a preview), the spectator is flung back and forth in indistinct time, floating over missing parts, and is perpetually in the midst of the (combined) action.
At the center of the opera is a simulation of a YouTube series that explores the Deep Web - the unindexed and largely unregulated part of the internet normally hidden from view. Not only do you not know who's on the other end – you have no way of knowing whether any of what they offer is real. It is a place of suspended identities where criminals, activists and law enforcement officers swap appearances. The main character is a guide to the audience, with elements of websites typical of the Deep Web appearing on stage. At the same time, a hacker succeeds to hack the main character’s computer. The hacker is represented by a guitar player, which is “hacking” the amplification of the electric guitar, by using a bass piano string. He installs a “MEDUSA virus” - represented throughout by the soprano - on the computer of the protagonist, who increasingly oscillates between his spectatorship and virtual assimilation as his anonymity begins to fail.
.onion was commissioned by Staatstheater Darmstadt, as one of the five selected composers of the Staatstheater Darmstadt Composers’ Competition won the first prize with a commission for a full length opera to be premiered in 2018.
Video artist: Vincent Stefan
Stage director: Sebastian Gühne
Soprano: Katja Staub
Tenor: Mark Adler
Conductor: Johannes Harneit
Photos by Vincent Stefan
Housemade video demonstration for .onion - 'Red Room' scene, (implying torture site on the deep web)
The costume and the walk of the soprano singer was invented while working with the New Chamber Ballet in New York in summer 2015. Dancer: Elizabeth Brown Huber