By Sally Dale
1. Marionette Operas, Austria
Salzburg’s renowned Marionette Theatre plays host to a variety of operas performed by puppets, including Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (The Bat). The operas are performed in their original languages with subtitles in German, English, French, Spanish and Japanese. Situated in one of the oldest continuing marionette theatres in the world, these eclectic performances are aimed at both children and adults.
Salzburger Marionettentheater, Salzburg, May 5–December 31
2. Sisters Akousmatica, Australia
City-scale radio orchestra Sisters Akousmatica take to the streets of Melbourne in this dynamic performance which focuses on the concept of akousma – sound removed from its source. Over seven hours, female artists Angie Garrick, eves, Kate Geck, Rosalind Hall, Shani Mohini-Holmes, radio cegeste, and Ela Stiles perform on the banks of the Yarra river whilst their sounds are broadcast via radio transmission. Meanwhile, listeners with portable radios march through the streets of the city, stopping at various locations along the way to tune into each live performance, guided by radio queens Julia Drouhin and Pip Stafford.
Flinders Walk, Northbank, Melbourne, May 8
3. Spor Festival, Denmark
This is a contemporary music and sound-art festival held in a selection of venues around the historic Danish city of Aarhus. Highlights include Mirror, an interactive sound installation that makes you question your own physical presence; Shrink, a performance installation in which living bodies are vacuum packed, hung up and suspended like transparent canvases; Misheardpedia, based on questionable transcriptions of machine-read Wikipedia texts; and Jeppe Ernst, a concert including Jeppe Ernst’s études for facial expressions, and various compositions for the imagination, smell and touch.
Aarhus, May 12–15
3. Eco Expanded City, Poland
As part of its programme as European Capital of Culture 2016, Wroclaw’s Eco Expanded City exhibition offers an assortment of auditory experiences ranging from sitting inside the giant timber megaphones of Estonia to Elvin Flamingo’s installation The Symbiosity of Creation, which combines the amplified communication noises of ants with improvisation. This month also sees the launch of Forgotten City, a series of unconventional Sunday chamber concerts in the forgotten crevices of Wroclaw, such as the stairwells of Art Nouveau houses, courtyards, historic railway stations and post-industrial areas.
Wroclaw, May 13-15
5. Sono un fumo – Ich bin Rauch, Germany
Radialsystem V hosts Sono un fumo – Ich bin Rauch (I’m a Smoker), a slapstick performance with music and objects by Aliénor Dauchez. Ensemble II Profundo provide a unique blend of baroque madrigal and contemporary compositions exploring the concepts of madness and love. The performance merges musical theatre, fine arts and classical slapstick reminiscent of early twentieth century movies. This fusion culminates with the musical version of the literary piece La Pazzia by an unknown Italian composer from the 17th century.
Radialsystem V, Berlin, May 14-16
6. The Colorado, USA
This immersive, multimedia eco-cantata merges a documentary film with live accompanying performance from vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and percussionist Glenn Kotche. A selection of filmmakers, composers, musicians and singers engineer a visual and aural journey through the Colorado River Basin – from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains through the red cliffs of the Grand Canyon. Designed to be utilised as an educational resource, the piece explores art, ecology and regional history and is centred around promoting stewardship of natural resources.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 18
7. Rotterdam Opera Days, The Netherlands
In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘(R)evolution – New Ways’, Rotterdam’s Operadagen (Opera Days) puts the spotlight on new and contemporary operas performed in a selection of unusual locations and formats. The ten-day festival consists of musical theatre and opera productions as well as more intimate productions as part of its fringe programme. Highlights include Parsifal – a take on Wagner’s opera that incorporates real-life gaming, tap-dancing knights, kids’ musicals, pop music and philosophy; As Big as the Sky, an opera installation designed by Ai Weiwei; an opera walk, connecting three locations that are relevant to Rotterdam’s post-war reconstruction; a remake of Salomé, staged as in a Berlin nightclub; Aquasonic, an underwater opera; Orfeo’s Night Song (combining Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Vespers) in a century old vault; and Il Ballo delle Ingrate, featuring a duet between sopranos Claron McFadden and Nora Fischer via Skype.
Rotterdam, May 20–29
8. Simplexity: La beauté du geste, Belgium
Five dancers and five solo musicians from the Paris-based Ensemble Intercontemporain present La beauté du geste (The beauty of the gesture). In this synthesis of disciplines, born of three decades of research and creation, composer and film maker Thierry de Mey explores the boundaries between musical and dance gesture whilst drawing upon elements of digital technology. The performance itself consists of a short cycle of pieces for various chamber ensembles.
Kaaitheatre, Brussels, May 20
9. Ragnar Kjartansson, Canada
Combining live performance with music, Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson probes the tragicomic aspects of life by exploring collisions of joy and melancholy, deconstructing themes from art history such as the painter/model distinction and the sacred space of the artist’s studio. The exhibit is comprised of three significant works, including the video installations The Visitors and A Lot of Sorrow.
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, until May 22
10. A Journey to India, Sweden
Cellist Matthew Barley, tabla player Sukhwinder Singh and violinist and musical director Hugo Ticciati alongside O / Modern Kammarorkester present A Journey to India, an eclectic mix of Indian-style improvisation, John Tavener’s Protecting Veil and songs by the Beatles.
Musikaliska, Stockholm, May 22