SÉISME - An interactive opus © Lim Kiihwan / Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie i
“Séisme” (in english “Seism” or “Earthquake”) is an interactive opus about the conversation between us and the Earth. Through music, vibrations, interactive flooring and sonification, the piece invites its audience to communicate with the ground we all walk on. Inspired by the events he witnessed, haitian poet Ar Guens Jean Mary explores the impact earthquakes have had on his communities and how humans can treat the earth better. This has led hungarian director Franciska Ery to the idea of dissecting an earthquake into its different stages of formation, and use this as a structure to create a new, interactive opera experience. British-chinese composer Alex Ho is creating a sound world that incorporates Jean Mary's poetry and tech, such as vibrating jackets (called “Subpacs”) and contact microphones to conjure the tremors of the earth and allow the audience not only to hear but also to feel these vibrations.
Séisme makes us reflect on humanity's effect on its home and underlines the idea that we always contribute to our shared history, even by existing. Indeed, our planet has changed drastically since humans have started living on it.Our responsive interactive space will be using contact mics and voice recognition to encourage the audience to be part of the opera. Every presence on the stage will have an effect on it. In the end, audience members will have the opportunity to leave voice messages to the earth, which will then be incorporated into the musical texture of the piece, always changing it slightly. Doing so, this “human earthquake” will literally be composed by human voices, collected through audience interaction.
While thousands of people will have the opportunity to experience Séisme in person at the Opéra Comédie of Montpellier, others will also have the chance to follow the evolution of the piece digitally online on a website. After each performance, the website will update, depending on how many people have walked on its ground and interacted with it.
The multidisciplinary young creative team brings together a hungarian director, haitien poet, sino-british composer, french sound and lightning designers, helped by tech experts in the making of a "human musical earthquake". Ho, Éry and Jean Mary met in Montpellier as part of an international workshop aiming to bring together young emerging artists of various disciplines in order to create musical staged work. The meeting of their combined talent had led to the immersive piece "Step by Step", inviting the public on stage to a poetic nap whispered by the musician performers, under a sky of stars. Convinced that opera is interdisciplinary by nature, the Opera Orchestra is proud to bring together this young and ambitious team to create a multidimensional work of art.