The Urban Tale of a Hippo is a visionary piece selected as a winner in the Music Theatre Now competition for its innovative exploration of contemporary landscapes and the entwined identities of humans and animals within the context of ecology. As it’s site-specific, the performance location (a Smoke Factory) not just acts as a stage but as an instrument in itself, this musical piece transports its audience into a multisensory realm where soundscapes encompass both the natural and the urban, mirroring the symbiotic relationship between the two.
In this performance, the audience is invited to experience the world through a heightened sensory journey akin to that of hunters, emphasizing the primal connection between humans and their environment. The live instruments interwoven with electronic music create a sound environment that maps the ephemeral traces of the past and the looming prospects of the future. The material world is personified by the presence of a giant hippo, a symbol of consciousness and the multiplicity of existence, pointing to the urgent need for ecological mindfulness.
The jury commends The Urban Tale of a Hippo for its allegorical representation of the planet’s vulnerability and the critical reflection on our ecological footprint. By bringing the metaphor of the hippo to life, the performance highlights the shared space we inhabit with other species and the profound impact of our actions on the globe. This musical piece stands as a crucial artistic response to the climate crisis, demonstrating the power of music theatre to inspire change and foster a deeper connection with the world around us.
About The Urban Tale of a Hippo
Concert with a choreographic tail is a playful definition of the work The Urban Tale of a Hippo – suggesting multidisciplinary take on the post-human condition in contemporaneity.
The soundscape cradles the audience in the blurred realities between natural and urban, morphing live instruments and electronics. Navigating through the mist, the audience not only observes the landscape, but also immerses in it. As hunters, relying on sharpened senses, they wander through the space.
The piece becomes a map of fading visions of the past and anticipating silhouettes of the future… eventually the Hippo itself appears…
- Music: Panayiotis Kokoras
- Action: Andrius Katinas
- Light: Nanni Vapaavuori
- Costumes: Morta Nakaitė
- Performance: Synaesthesis ensemble (Simas Tankevičius (violin), Monika Kiknadzė (viola), Arnas Kmieliauskas (cello), Vytenis Gurstis (flute), Artūras Kažimėkas (clarinet), Arminas Bižys (saxophone) & Marta Finkelštein (piano))
- Producer: Operomanija
- Co-producer: Synaesthesis
20 October 2022, Smoke Factory, 8th Contemporary Opera Festival NOA, Vilnius, Lithuania
© Martynas Aleksa
Operomanija is a production house based in Lithuania, dedicated to the creation and promotion of new music theatre through diverse cross-disciplinary artistic collaborations. Since its formation in 2008, it has produced about 60 contemporary operas and various multidisciplinary art projects. The organization runs Contemporary Opera Festival NOA (New Opera Action) – one of the leading international new music theatre events in the Baltic region. It also holds creative residencies related to contemporary opera, organises production and release of sound recordings, along with national and international promotion of produced works.