2. Challenge your ideas about Asian and international art: The Hidden Pulse
The Hidden Pulse is a new experiment this year – a programme of contemporary art and moving image inside the Opera House during Vivid LIVE. For the program, the Opera House will open up the Playhouse and Drama Theatre, usually the space for Shakespeare and contemporary dance, now transformed into an arthouse theatre. Co-curated with M+ Hong Kong, the program stars works honing in on contemporary Asia, its diaspora, and the world: Solange filmmaker Arthur Jafa in conversation and a screening of the seismic Love is the Message, the Message is Death; Wu Tsang in tribute to Charles Atlas; Cheng Ran with live score; and Stan Douglas.
3. Hear what emotion sounds like, performed by an orchestra: Keaton Henson's Six Lethargies
Keaton Henson combines body and music as performance, using bio-responses of the ‘emotional responses’ to music captured from his previous performances. It’s an exploration of anxiety and vulnerability, performed by the Opera Australia Orchestra and a Q&A following the performance.
4. See the premiere of a legendary film composer's final work: Jóhann Jóhannsson's Last and First Men
Jóhann Jóhannsson rewrote our understanding of classical music’s place in film with scores for Arrival, Sicario and The Theory of Everything, showing us that soundtracks can be more than bombastic movie fanfares; they can also be powerful, chilling pieces of work. In a new piece co-commissioned with Manchester International Festival, Jóhannsson’s Last and First Men takes inspiration from the alien, stone-like sculptures found scattered across Yugoslavia. It will be performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra alongside a film narrated by actress Tilda Swinton.
5. Hear the voice of a hidden America: Lonnie Holley
Lonnie Holley’s haunting loops and distant vocals echo the spirit of Gil Scott-Heron, Alice Coltrane and Arthur Russell. His sculptures, homemade recordings and writings have amassed a cult following, as well as legendary collaborations with Bon Iver, Bill Callahan and Animal Collective. Holley is the voice of a repressed America, and an artist not afraid of calling out the system that he has fought hard against. Read a guide to Holley’s powerful career.
6. Surrender yourself to the cello: Kelsey Lu
Aside for scoring the sails artwork this year, Lu will be taking to the seaside Utzon Room to perform. In recent live shows with Oneohtrix Point Never, Florence + the Machine and Kelela, she has given the cello a powerful character unheard in contemporary music. Her songs from Blood reach the heights of avant garde pop with teases of classical sensibilities, a perfect fit for the venue.
7. A history of timeless techno: Moritz von Oswald
In previous years, the Studio has been turned inside out to become one of the city’s greatest (and loudest) beacons of electronic music. This year, it’s happening again with some of the legends of the industry; Moritz von Oswald, a founding member of Basic Channel, brings his bag of wax from Germany to the Opera House. As a DJ with ties back to Hard Wax and Tresor, he will be sure to give the Vivid LIVE sound system a good rinse.
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