What Is Essential Is Invisible To The Eye

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly” – Saint Exupéry

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Deconstructing opera’s mega-material roots is a challenge.
Sharing an opera live with a group of roving wireless-headphone-wearing audience members? Sounds near impossible.
And yet, The Industry ambitiously tackled all this and more through its Invisible Cities project in LA’s Union Station.

Composer and librettist Christopher Cerrone’s adapted a 1972 novel of the same name by Italo Calvino. The story depicts a host of fantastical cities the explorer Marco Polo narrates to Kublai Khan – unreal cities of desire, of memory, of the imagination.

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You check in and trade your license for a pair of headphones before following a drove of listeners into a large room where an orchestra sits, no singers in sight. The overture sounds forth and even before the final notes of this first movement end, individuals exit through the large glass doors to search for the rest of the opera. There’s no traditional stage here. The train station itself houses the characters, and like a living giant that seems to expand and contract as singers reveal themselves from the shadows.

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A man hunched over in a wheelchair, dressed like many of the homeless souls that take shelter in the station, begins to sing. And you realize that the performers are not so much hidden at all. Instead, you did not know what you should have been seeking.

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  A lofty soprano tone sounds from another room. Many turn to rush to find the source of the music and discover a janitor – with a voice of gold.

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You traverse cities of the living, cities of the dead.

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You follow in Polo’s footsteps and happen upon a dance core (seven dancers from LA Dance Project) as they guide and affront the viewer through a collection of miniature vignettes.

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You wander into a hallway – the station’s old ticket lobby – and see no action, just a mist of light fog…

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…Only seconds later to be bombarded by a procession of singers and dancers as the opera’s final scenes culminate around you.

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You notice how each person in the room is now a character in the piece as well. An old man in his own wheelchair is not altogether different from the singer at the start.

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The piece challenges the viewer to realize that the eye creates what it wishes to see. At every new port – there is a promise of hope, discovery, release. But we bring ourselves with us wherever we go, thus in order to find new things, we must truly see with new eyes.

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Bite-sized Wisdom: Keller

Doubt sneaking in? Remember that you have a powerful tool at hand that is ready to go into action for you at any time. Words from this wise and empowering woman:

imagine

Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend.

– Helen Keller


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Bite-sized Wisdom: Hellman

In the midst of creating new patterns for yourself? Make sure you have the first ingredient.

fingers

“Things start out as hopes and end up as habits.”

– Lillian Hellman

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Bite-sized Wisdom: Simon

If it’s been a while since you’ve done something for the very first time, challenge yourself to find a new way. You never know what  surprise it may bring.

“If no one ever took risks, Michaelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.”

– Neil Simon

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How to Switch Hemispheres Without Ever Jumping on a Plane

I’m out and about this week guys, exploring and wandering around strange and wild lands. Until I’m back and can tell you all about it, enjoy the petit posts.


Because Hafiz’s poetry is always worth a listen:

All the Hemispheres 

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
Chatting

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You.

– Hafiz

from ‘The Subject Tonight is Love’, translated by Daniel Ladinsky  


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It’s Okay Not to Know the Destination

I’m out and about this week guys, exploring and wandering around strange and wild lands. Until I’m back and can tell you all about it, enjoy the petit posts.

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The NeverEnding Story

I’m out and about this week guys, exploring and wandering around strange and wild lands. Until I’m back and can tell you all about it, enjoy the petit posts.

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Somewhere Beyond the Sea: Traveling Abroad

I’m out and about this week guys, exploring and wandering around strange and wild lands. Until I’m back and can tell you all about it, enjoy the petit posts.

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Bite-sized Wisdom: Ruhl

Feeling a little off or disconnected? Try creating something. It can be tiny. It can be silly. No matter its size or import, it will still allow you to revisit that part of yourself that you’re missing. 

“Art is a way of freezing time, or extending time. … It’s another way to bridge the gaps between us.”

– Sarah Ruhl


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Bite-sized Wisdom: T.S. Eliot

This man takes a careful lens to the intricacies that make up our lives. Here’s to always finding adventure and sources of wonder.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

– T. S. Eliot

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