Frances Stark to unveil her Absolut Art Award-winning project ‘The Magic Flute’ at LACMA

Frances Stark’s 2015 Absolut Art Award-winning project, a digital film adaptation of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, will premiere at LACMA in Los Angeles. Based in Los Angeles, Stark is a world-renowned contemporary artist working in time-based media and other art forms and whose works are represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art among numerous museum institutions globally.

Frances Stark, Behind the scenes of The Magic Flute, 2017, Courtesy Alexa Karolinski
Frances Stark, Behind the scenes of The Magic Flute, 2017, Courtesy Alexa Karolinski

One of the most popular operas of all time, and written explicitly for an inter-generational audience, The Magic Flute is a tale of a prince and a bird catcher who cross paths and endure various tricks and trials in search of love and enlightenment. Originally premiered in Vienna in 1791, the opera presents a vision of kinship through music, stemming from the collaboration between librettist Emanuel Schikaneder and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Frances Stark’s The Magic Flute – a 110-minute pedagogical opera – is a reimagining of the original work and takes the libretto as its primary visual focus. Developed through a period of extensive research, her film brings together the fields of contemporary art and popular classical music. Stark has worked with a number of collaborators to realise the project, including renowned producer H.B. Barnum; conductor Danko Drusko, who adapted Mozart’s original score; and a group of 10-19 year olds who make up the 26-piece orchestra. The project is defined by the idea of artistic exchange across disciplines, generations and genres, resulting in a powerful learning and teaching experience for all involved.

Celebrating both close reading and close listening, the vocalists – the defining characteristic of the genre – have been substituted with soloists who play the vocal melodies. These solos have been uniquely developed to personify each of the 10 characters. The lyrics have also been updated, through Stark’s creation of an amalgam libretto through the study of numerous translations that were then adapted to fit the instrumental melodies while also speaking to both a contemporary audience and the present moment. These animated lyrics appear onscreen, immersing the viewer in the words themselves and enabling a deeper understanding of the wit and relevance of the lyrical content.

The Magic Flute by Frances Stark (110 minutes)
7pm, 28th April, 2017 Bing Theater, LACMA Free, tickets required
For more information visit www.lacma.org

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, a curation of the world’s most interesting culture, and Creative Director of FAD Agency, a digital creative agency: www.fad.agency