Using an Image or Melody as Your Starting Point

Oceanic Versesis an opera that musically paints a picture of Italy as it once was, a cross section of cultures expressed through song. The story was derived from lost languages, texts and melodic lines of ancient songs, and found poems, and was sung in various dialects including Griko, Genoese, and Sardinian, coloring the work with the spirits and traditions of various ethnic and cultural influences.

This is a type of identity piece, that uses songs and a culture close to my heart. Choose a song or image that expresses who you are.


Entry Point
Choose either the original "A La Sulfatara" or "Fimmene" (in the audio player above) or the photo by Ali Hossaini, or your own samples, as an inspiration point for a new work.

Find additional samples here:
http://paolaprestini.com/musical-exchange/


Background

Oceanic Versesis an opera that was developed at a Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop in 2008-2009. It truly marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey. When I was selected for the opportunity, I was thrilled. I knew I wanted to try something very different, and so I decided to deeply explore Italian folk influences in a profound way, knowing that composer Osvaldo Golijov would be the perfect composer as a mentor for this journey.

In 2007, I was in residence at Sound Res, a residency program in Lecce, Italy, where different artists are invited to create and connect with the Salento landscape, both for its  nature and its cultural elements. I was there with composer Philip Glass and other amazing musicians. My understanding of Italy, which I left when I was very young,  expanded, and my love of that side of my heritage deepened, as I became aware of Italy  as a cross cultural land full of artistic hybrids. I began to record sound samples, and was  invited to work in a foster care home with children and was moved by the voices of the  young kids and how they referred to their own ancient traditions in order to express their very current feelings. I was touched to see that traditional culture was still very much alive,  even if part of it was so embedded in a time and a rural life style that is forever gone. I  started to explore the notion of lost traditions, lost languages, and the meaning of culture  under transformation. I saw how the Salento region served as a metaphor for fading  civilizations and rebirth. This experience served as the inspiration for Oceanic Verses.

The work musically painted a picture of Italy as it once was, a cross section of cultures  expressed through song. The story was derived from lost languages, texts of ancient  songs, and found poems, and was sung in various dialects including Griko, Genoese,  and Sardinian, coloring the work with the spirits and traditions of various ethnic and  cultural influences.

The project then was expanded for New York City Opera VOX festival, and it now has  become a multimedia and collaborative opera, in collaboration with film artist Ali Hossaini and librettist Donna Di Novelli. It will open at the Kennedy Center, then at Winter  Garden for the River to River festival, and finally, at the Barbican Centre with the BBC Orchestra.

The setting of the opera can be summed up in those topic movements: the Oceans  bringing immigrants to shore; the Shores changing with each new footprint, in particular,  Salento as the backdrop for a fading civilization that is waiting to be reborn. Under its  taught dry skin resurging immigrants plant themselves in a land, both troubled and ripe  with hope.

OCEANIC VERSESfollows four separate arcs as a Sailor (folksinger Claudio Prima)  gets lost at sea; a Scholar investigating immigration (improviser Helga Davis) loses her suitcase; a Mother (soprano Hila Plitmann) goes hungry and finds her voice; and a  Soldier (Chris Burchett) crawls through a war zone and finds his love. All four characters  are joined by their yearning to uncover the past.

Join composer Paola Prestini in the Musical Exchange Project Composing: Sing in an Interdisciplinary Voice (January 23 - March 2, 2012).

Comment

You need to be a member of Composing to add comments!

Comment by Christopher Amos on February 2, 2012 at 6:59pm

In this video, Paola talks about her early work on Oceanic Verses, recorded during the2008-2009 workshop with Osvaldo Golijov and Dawn Upshaw, where work on the piece began:

http://www.carnegiehall.org/Video/Video.aspx?id=4294980700

You hear other perspectives on the workshop in these videos:

http://www.carnegiehall.org/Video/Video.aspx?id=4294980705

http://www.carnegiehall.org/Video/Video.aspx?id=4294980704

Also, hear the compositions from this workshop in the audio files posted here:

http://www.carnegiehall.org/ch/pages/1-2-1-3.aspx?pageid=4294980736

About Musical Exchange

Connect with other young musicians (ages 13 and up), share your performances and compositions, and join creative projects led by professional artists from Carnegie Hall.


 

 

 
 
 

 

 Proud Sponsor

Digital music workshops produced by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Building Beats are supported by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust.

 

© 2017   Created by Carnegie Hall.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service