I'm the kind of girl who puts songs on repeat and who watches the show Friends over and over. Plus, I'm a very classical girl, I like vintage clothing, tea time, and drinking champagne in coupes (not flutes). So modern operas, or even modern interpretations of well-known operas, aren't exactly at the top of my list.
The story follows two women, one human and the other transhuman, and each wished she were the other. It's your typical grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side kind of situation. They only see the best parts of the other race, but could they live with the dark ones? It's pretty much like social media actually: you think others have better lives than you do, but you only the bits they want to show. Are we just playing our part?
The opera is sung in English (the language of the future?) which makes it easy to follow. Furthermore, the music by Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin doesn't feel awkward to listen to and fits perfectly within the story. The atonal pitches and electronically processed voices are how the transhumans communicate so it doesn't seem out of place or strange. The other parts resemble actual speaking tones but with more musicality, with bits from Beethoven's Fidelio . So overall, its pleasing to the ear although different than the typical operas that are performed.
What I truly enjoyed as well is having a boy soprano, Aksel Rykkvin, play the role of the boy. Edle Stray-Pedersen, Head of Children Chorus, was kind enough to let me follow her around backstage during the dress rehearsal (so we all love Edle from now on) and introduced me to him. His character sounds and looks exactly like how he should, like a boy! It might sound futile, but often, young boys are performed by women sopranos and mezzos (think of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro). We can make them look like young gentlemen, but the voice isn't the same. And Aksel isn't any boy soprano. No no. He has an international career as a soloist and records albums. *mouth drop* #childprodigy
Throughout the opera, you wonder what it really means to be human. How do you define humanity, when the 40 humans left are at the mercy of a greater race? We strive to instigate change for the best, but we always resist change, believing that it's unnatural. But what is evolution, if not exactly that? Think of freeing the slaves, votes for women, or gay rights. What we take for natural today, wasn't a few years ago. Would you resist change if you were one of the islanders, or would you take the Chip?