Writer/Director Oscar Van Heek and composer Malcolm Lindsay present a ground breaking, cross-media project combining opera and film, which has been conceived and executed in a highly original manner.
DARK WATER the resultant short film was created 'back to front' with Lindsay writing an operatic score based on Van Heek's script prior to filming, so that aspects of the film-making were influenced by the music. In addition the score was influenced by the subsequent further development of the film script and by how the film was then shot and edited.
The collaboration also involved Scottish Opera Director Alex Reedijk and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, PJ Moore (formerly of The Blue Nile), soprano Marie Claire Breen, tenor Jamie MacDougall, and Matt Swodoba. Young Scottish actors Alice McMillan and Daniel Cahill led the film action.
The project also made use of the exciting 'demoscene' (a semi underground movement where programmers and artist create computer generated video and music clips). Matt Swodoba, a leading light from the demoscene, collaborated on visual effects, to express Toni's loss of sight, resulting in some beautiful imagery where effects have been combined with the under-water footage (Toni is a swimmer).
The project would not have been possible without the support of Creative Scotland and Scottish Opera.
The film narrative has an `operatic' theme presenting a highly emotional story of tangled desires and fears as Toni, a young girl, loses her sight while falling in love. Played out in an ordinary town where opportunities and the chance to find love seem limited, there is a sense that Toni's world is becoming darker not just through the loss of her sight.
The operatic score coupled with the arresting imagery has created a compelling film that tells this story in an unexpected way, with Toni's emotions conveyed through the power of Marie Claire Breen's often astonishing vocals.
This album was recorded and produced in Glasgow and in addition to the orchestra
features soprano Marie Claire Breen with tenor Jamie
MacDougall in support.
Greg Lawson conducted the orchestra and Calum Malcolm was in charge of recording and some production during the session. Lindsay then honed the balance and 'soundscape' of the music at his own studio before recording the vocalists.
From Van Heek's original short film script seven themes or acts were identified, inspiring seven musical ideas, composed and orchestrated by Lindsay. The libretto was then written by PJ Moore, taking inspiration both from the original story and also from the fresh orchestral soundscape. The music was made available to the film team prior to filming and during subsequent editing of the footage. The music was subsequently influenced by the resultant film footage and story that emerged through the editing process. A symbiosis.
Some audio samples below.
Photo Credits: Poolside - George Geddes, Orchestra - Melanie Sims and Emma Lindsay.
Malcolm Lindsay - www.malcolmlindsay.com
Scottish Opera - www.scottishopera.org.uk