Manga for lovers © Jascha Zube i
Written by Olga Newirth and Barry Gifford, Manga for Lovers wants to be the musical translation of a Manga into a piece for the stage and video, a quasi Cyberpunk, Film Noir Opera with unique artists involved from different continents, nationalities and artistic backgrounds.
Manga for Lovers is inspired by Japan's first super-hero from the 1930s, Olgon Bat.
The main character, Olgon Bat, is sent forward in time to battle evil forces threatening the present day. This old Manga story set in a destroyed mega city in the present time, is a fluid cultural and cross-gender blend (the two young heroes). We see through a delirious Manga lens of speed, atomic-age streamlining and a healthy cocktail of robots, mutants and monsters.
Olga Neuwirth and Barry Gifford wrote the libretto.
It was the “sounds” written in Manga like “Boom”, “Pow” and so on that triggered the idea for this musical translation of an old Manga story into a piece for the stage and video. The number of wordless passages in any volume of Manga may be striking to the western eye. To “read” Manga is to read images - the rhythm is determined by the sequence of images. Manga differs markedly from Euro-American comics in its absence of “textual narrators”. That’s where the music and sound-design by Olga Neuwirth comes in.
Manga for Lovers will be a mixture of animation (in Manga style) and a kind of 1960‘s/1970’s silver screen movie with live music as well as different old-fashioned keyboards (recorded and filmed). All this will accompany the two “anti-heroes” on their fight against the Noise Machine dictator as they stroll through town.
The opera is written for an Ensemble of around 20 musicians. It will be created by the Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Matthias Pintscher. There will be 6 singers on stage and other ones, including a choir, recorded. The opera will be premiered at The Châtelet within the framework of the Festival d’Automne à Paris in November 2022.
The motto of this new Manga Video/Anime opera is the Japanese term "wabi-sabi", which refers to finding beauty in imperfection.
Olga Neuwirth is known for putting together in her projects diverse and different genders, ethnicities and nationalities and from different disciplines.Yuval Sharon recently directed Olga Neuwirth's Lost Highway. Mathias Pintscher conducted Olga Neuwirth's Orlando at the Wiener Staatsoper and he and the EIC have premiered numerous works by Olga Neuwirth in concert. They also participated in the reopening show Parade at the Théâtre du Châtelet in September 2019. Many of the soloists in the cast have already collaborated with Olga Neuwirth. Julia Bullock will perform the title role of Perle Noire at the Châtelet with Tyshawn Sorey and Peter Sellars in the spring of 2021. Artists in the production come from diverse nationalities: Austrian composer, American librettist and director, German conductor, American, French, Austrian and English soloists. They also come from different generations, some young artists at the beginning of their careers, like the American soprano Julia Bullock, Katie La Folle or Jake Arditi, some others already famous like Matthias Pintscher or Andrew Watts, and also a librettist, Barry Gifford, who has a brilliant career behind him. Olga Neuwirth is now also looking for a Narrator, in line with the Japanese tradition of the “third gender”, and another artist to perform Olgon Bat.
Katie La Folle