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THE HUMAN VOICE Released at City Opera Online

The agony of failed love. The coldness of the machine. The voice of humanity.

THE HUMAN VOICE Released at City Opera Online

City Opera Vancouver's first online opera will be released on Monday 11 January 2021, beginning at noon. It is free to all, on our YouTube channel.

Starring Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell, with pianist Roger Parton, it will initially appear as a series of seven webisodes, each going up at noon for a week.

On 18 January 2021, it will appear entire, and stay online for one year. The complete chamber opera runs 49:00, and was filmed at The Historic Cultch Theatre.

The Human Voice is a contemporary adaptation of the 1928 stage play by Jean Cocteau, and the 1958 chamber opera by Francis Poulenc.

It is a radically new production of La Voix Humaine. In the original, a lone soprano sings into a telephone, frustrated by a technology that fails and distances and impairs any prospect of intimacy. Her lover advises that he has found another woman.

The Human Voice presents a flip of gender, and a metaphor of global pandemic. Now in English, Isaiah Bell sings to his male lover, and into the abyss of COVID. In a Zoom call impaired by lag and freeze and dropped signals, technology is once again enemy to intimacy. The agony of failed love is heightened by the necessity of distance, by the anaesthetic of the machine.

The Human Voice is a powerful, daring, and memorable invention, engaging one piano and one singer and an audience that cannot be assembled any other way.

Said Isaiah Bell, "In our shiny world, imitations of life, and imitations of connection, can be more convincing to the eye than their living counterparts. But our bodies, or whatever the part of us is that needs the real thing, are hopelessly old-fashioned. As long as we live in the facsimile, stuck on how things should be or could be, we live undernourished, missing out on real life as it unspools between dropped phone calls, while we are waiting for everything to go back to normal..."

The Human Voice is the first in a series of chamber operas to appear at City Opera Online. Available here: bit.ly/cityoperaonline .


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