Created by Paola Prestini in collaboration with Mario Livio, Carmen Kordas and Royce Vavrek
Concert footage recorded at BAM during 21c Liederabend, op.3 featuring conductor Julian Wachner and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street with Novus NY
Violinist and Improviser
Texts inspired by astrophysicist
Produced by VisionIntoArt and Beth Morrison Projects
The Hubble Cantata is in part commissioned by Bay Chamber Concerts. The visuals are commissioned by VisionIntoArt.
This poetic re-imagining is inspired and guided by Mario Livio’s uniquely sensitive and intellectual writings. Mario’s voice appears as recorded interludes in the work, and Mario will appear live for certain engagements.
This multimedia work will illustrates the living relationship between music, film, and science. By incorporating Mario Livio’s strong and poignant themes with music, visual art/film, and advanced technology, the Hubble Cantata promises to be one of the most exciting forays into the interdisciplinary dance of science and art, to date.
“We decided to symbolically anchor the Earth-based part of the lyrics on the agonizing experiences of a young woman struggling with a harsh reality. As Vavrek states in the introduction to the libretto: “Her footsteps tell stories.” The music and imagery for this section were partly inspired by the Japanese mythology-rich forest Aokigahara. Sadly, the historic association of this forest with demons has led to numerous suicides on the site. To connect the life (and death) experience of the young woman to the heavens, we used the ancient Peruvian geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines. Again in Vavrek’s words: “The woman walks in patterns, pictures emerge in the soil… She creates her own private Nazca lines, tattooing the Earth with her history.” The Nazca lines in Peru are believed to have been created between the fifth and seventh centuries, and they are thought (at least by some researchers) to point to places on the horizon where certain celestial bodies rose or set. In other words, they truly marked a direct astronomical connection between the surface of the Earth and the heavens. In its conclusion, the Cantata completely intermingles the fate of the young woman with the ultimate fate of the stars. The shapes in the sand and the constellations in the sky become one, mirroring the tortuous path of human life in the dramatic Hubble images of outbursts that simultaneously mark stellar deaths and the promise for a new generation of stars, planets, and life.”
The first part of the Cantata followed the painful emotional journey of a young woman, who in the aftermath of the loss of a child,