Rolf Hind: Lost In Thought
“Opera is being turned inside out: instead of watching a drama played out on stage, we’re attending to our own inner journey. I recommend you go along” wrote Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian about Rolf Hind “mediation opera” Lost In Thought.
PERFORMANCES by Mahogany Opera Group
September 2015: London, LSO St Luke's, presented by the Barbican
October 2015: Salford Quays (UK), The Lowry
January 2016: Bangor, Pontio (UK)
February 2017: Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie
The structure of LOST IN THOUGHT is parallel to that of a day on a vipassana-style silent retreat. The singer acts as meditation guide/leader, and also sings or plays percussion instruments as indicated on the score. The audience is limited to the number of people who can reasonably be comfortable in the space (they will need blankets, cushions/seats), and are able to follow the meditations, as well as taking part in the activities - sitting, walking, eating, resting and waking with stretches/yoga. This will probably be a maximum of about 100.
The length of the full work will vary according to how much time is left for the meditative elements, but it is to be stressed that this is a VITAL element of the work, as is the audience’s participation, which can be encouraged with some explanation/guidance before the event. There cannot be a separate audience which “just watches” the activity of the participants. The minimum duration is about 3 and a half hours. An overnight performance with sleep taking place where indicated in the score would be ideal (after Sleep Raga.) In this case all the meditative elements and the musical elements which have some flexibility may be stretched accordingly.
There can be a certain amount of flexibility with the structure and positioning of the meditative sitting/walking, although a significant amount of sitting and meditation instruction at the beginning of the work will allow the audience to relax, and those who are new to this kind of practise to develop a little familiarity and ease. Attacca between certain of the musical movements should however always be observed.
Lost In Thought
A meditation opera
Commissioner: Mahogany Opera Group
Cl, Perc, Acc, Hp, Pno, Vl, Vc
Duration: The length of the full work will vary according to how much time is left for the meditative elements, but it is to be stressed that this is a VITAL element of the work, as is the audience’s participation, which can be encouraged with some explanation/guidance before the event.
Photo: Mahogany Opera Group’s production of Lost in Thought at LSO St Luke’s, London. Image: Simon Jay Price / Mahogany Opera Group