NOW THAT WE ARE PERSONS
COMPOSER & LIBRETTIST
DRAMATURG & LIBRETTIST
Produced by Civic Opera Creations.
Developmental support by
Community exchange partners
Composer & Librettist
Dramaturg & Librettist
proscenium stage or black box
operatically-trained mezzo soprano, pop-trained alto, actress, 9-person chamber ensemble, electronics and speakers surrounding the audience
NOW THAT WE ARE PERSONS grapples with the cultural construct of the Artistic Genius and the barriers this construct creates for women and marginalised people. This new chamber opera by Canadian composer Caitlin Smith explores how the concept of ‘genius’ removes agency from the communities whose collective labour provides the breeding ground for artistic innovation and enables misogynistic predation.
A young female artist – a woman who is struggling to find the space, time and resources for her creative work – visits the Art History Museum in Vienna, hoping to learn how to kick the habit of genius worship – how to free herself from the rituals of reverence paid to the Old Masters.
In the Picture Galleries, she meets a young male artist – who tries to convince her of his own genius – and an elderly woman who never had the chance to make art herself. These two encounters magnify and reflect her own inner struggle and become catalysts to free herself from internalized normativity.
NOW THAT WE ARE PERSONS deals with the concept of artistic genius and the barriers this concept entails for women. In doing so, production relations are examined, and understandings of artistry and the art market are questioned, but moments of self-empowered artistic creation are also explored. The title of the musical theater piece comes from the headline of a magazine article from 1930, which dealt with the recently changed legal definition of women as persons. Discussions in the form of interviews and exchange formats in which women talk about their own artistic work also flow into the development of the material.
The development of the opera NOW THAT WE ARE PERSONS is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts from 2020 to 2022. In spring 2022, phases of community exchange organized by Civic Opera Creations, a workshop, and a presentation of excerpts (see Creations*3) took place in Vienna. The opera is supported by the European Network of Opera Academies and is looking for possible co-producers of the premiere. Further workshops by NOW THAT WE ARE PERSONS are planned in summer with the Biljoke Summer Academy and in autumn in Vienna.
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(c) 2022, Civic Opera Creations, Verein für Kunst, Kultur & Soziales, ZVR:1792837722, Austria