The University of Virginia’s Disabilities Studies Symposium has produced a version of a 1950s opera called “Dialogues of the Carmelites” featuring both traditional opera singers and Deaf actors performing together and living up to the name of their workshop, “Breaking the Sound Barrier.” Plus: a cat played a Theremin on the internet, because why not.
Singing and Signing: ‘Deaf Opera’ Comes to Grounds (University of Virginia)
The Washington Post music critic was right. We’re living in operatic times.
As you may know, we’re always interested in stories that make the world a little more inclusive.
And here’s one of them: the University of Virginia has just hosted the performance of a deaf opera.
The university’s Disabilities Studies Symposium produced a version of a 1950s opera called “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” set at a convent in the French Revolution.
In their production, the nuns were all Deaf, and so the production double-cast each part.
There was an opera singer performing the musical part of the role, while a Deaf actor performed in American Sign Language.
It was a dual performance they described as almost like a harmony.
And making that harmony happen was one of the challenges of the project, not just to make a version of the libretto in ASL, but to do it in a way that could capture in sign the same long notes and emotional range that’s part of opera performance.
The opera took place in February, and by all accounts the Deaf opera lived up to the name of the workshop that produced it: “Breaking the Sound Barrier.”
The internet is full of cats, and some of them are musical, like Keyboard Cat.
Last month we got Theremin Cat, thanks to a 35 second video in which a kitty manages to put its head and paws in just the right places around the electromagnetic field to make the instrument squeak and squawk.
The cat looks like it’s either really enjoying itself or is more confused than it’s ever been in its life.
Either of which could describe me pretty well.