The Opera Performance, was commissioned by El Museo del Barrio with additional funds courtesy of Franklin Furnace Funds and part of Performa 13. The live performance recreated the multi-layered audio from the video TAKEABITE;elduendealwaystravels…light. The performance featured the three main performers, Elia Alba, Mickalene Thomas and David Antonio Cruz in full costume, backed by an orchestra, a jazz singer, a soprano singer, ten actors, and a special effects sound mixer. The video was projected behind the performer and over 2,500 paper planes covered the entire stage. The video, TAKEABITE was inspired by Lorca’s essay on the duende, Vidal’s The City and The Pillar, Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, and 1950’s sitcoms. The costumes are influenced by 1950’s couture, Victorian clothing, and the television show Leave It To Beaver. Filmed at Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France and in Brooklyn, New York.
Performance: 16 minutes.
The opera-like performances are a loud psychological manifestation of the portraits frozen in the paintings. The performers are often the model sources for the paintings. Like the paintings, the performances explore the physical, emotional, and metaphorical disjunction between the body, society, and structures.
The operatic performances borrow from queer texts, plays, and films to construct visible queer narratives and to expose forgotten histories. The performances fuse multiple texts together with references from popular culture and personal narratives of coming out. The multilingual performances clash high art against queer slang, playing with language, music and double entendres particular to Latino and Black underground gay culture.
the Opera, 2013. 16 minutes. Full version.