Salomé with live score

Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr performs a newly commissioned, original soundtrack to the startlingly seductive 1923 silent movie, Salomé.

Circuit des Yeux’s sound combines fingerpicked guitar, avant-garde electronics, minimalism and song with Fohr’s otherworldly voice, which has drawn comparisons with Nina Simone, Nico and even Scott Walker.

Conceived, produced, and starring the stupendous Russian actress Alla Nazimova, Salomé was a resounding flop on release, with its story and rumours of debauched parties at Nazimova’s mansion on Sunset Boulevard causing it to be shunned by the major studios.

In the years since, its weirdly beautiful atmosphere and aesthetic – combining Art Nouveau, modernism and the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age – have led to its growing recognition as an exotic gem, and a cornerstone of camp.

Commissioned by Opera North Projects for Leeds International Festival.

Salomé (1923)

Battleship Potemkin

It’s 1905 and the crew of the Potemkin are electrified by news of a revolution; the lower decks strive to replicate it in a mutiny against their brutal officers.As word of their revolt spreads, the people of nearby Odessa gather to show their support for the crew. The ensuing chaos has become one of cinema’s most iconic sequences, as peaceful protesters are gunned down on the steps leading into the city.

Technically virtuosic, visually epic and intense, Battleship Potemkin is given a propulsive new score to match by Norwegian composer and electronic musician Jan Bang and Matt Calvert from Three Trapped Tigers.

Commissioned by Opera North Projects.

Hypnosis Display

Hypnosis Display is a meditation on contemporary America in sound and image. Portland based musician Grouper (Liz Harris) juxtaposes layers of processed field recording, choral vocal harmony and keyboard in a resonant framework that moves behind and through Paul Clipson’s 16mm film. Clipson’s densely rhythmical images in turn traverse Grouper’s musical language to create startling, revelatory, and critical associations.

A collective mind’s-eye trip through landscapes of American myth making, including: the west coast, the worker, the city and the street.

By Grouper (Liz Harris) & Paul Clipson

Commissioned by Opera North Projects in association with Qu Junktions; supported by the Opera North Future Fund

Hypnosis Display

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Taking inspiration from the music of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and traditional American spirituals, pianist Joanna MacGregor and jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard create a new live score for Sunrise, F.W. Murnau’s 1927 masterpiece of silent film.

Made in the twilight of the silent era, Sunrise became a swan-song for the vanishing medium and one of its greatest expressions, a story about innocence and experience, urban and rural America, love and violence.

As part of an ongoing fascination with film and music, this Sunrise live soundtrack explores the effect that music has on film and vice-versa.

Commissioned by Opera North Projects; supported by the Opera North Future Fund.

Mein Lieber Schwan

The puppetmaker sits alone in a room and slowly places the needle onto a record. The music, and the story, begin…

To accompany the Opera North’s Ring Cycle, Opera North Projects asked filmmaker and musician Matthew Robins to respond to a piece of Wagner’s music in film. He chose ‘Mein Lieber Schwan,’ from the last act of Lohengrin. Inspired by the themes that permeate Lohengrin itself, the resulting short film is an exquisite tale of lost love in puppetry and stop-motion animation.

Influenced by the films of Jan Svankmajer and Eastern European animators, it explores the power of puppetry to move us. The puppetmaker is himself a puppet, you can see quite clearly that his hands are papier-maché and wire; you can see the newsprint under the paint and the glue on his glasses. Yet the story he tells of his wife and a mysterious swan is very real indeed. An almost otherworldly 1914 recording by Hermann Jadlowker is at the heart of the film.

Music by Richard Wagner (Lohengrin), sung by Hermann Jadlowker. Film by Matthew Robins, commissioned by Opera North Projects.


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