Liza Lim: Tree of Codes at Spoleto Festival USA

Liza Lim: Tree of Codes at Spoleto Festival USA

Liza Lim’s fourth opera Tree of Codes was staged anew on May 26 by Singaporean director Ong Ken Sen in the framework of the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. "This was a completely different take on the opera from its first production at Opera Cologne", says the composer about the reimagining of her work under the direction of John Kennedy. "The part of Adela [was] performed by soprano Marisol Montalvo, ‘the Son’ played by baritone Elliot Madore and a silent role ‘the dresser’, performed by Walter Dundervill. The orchestra was made up of musicians from all over the States who played with superb attention to colour and detail."

Liza Lim: Tree of Codes (2015)

‘Cut-outs in time’, an opera
S.Bar.Sp – – – 
perc – pf – – live-el
Duration: 80’
WP: 9.4.2016, Cologne

More about the work

Tree of Codes, Spoleto Festival USA 2018

Composer's note

"What that extra-ordinary time and space looks like is something I leave to the director…", Limelight Magazine quotes Liza Lim. "The multiple stories in the opera are, for me, about opening up emotional or psychic spaces. For the audience, I hope that people will see different things and plug into different aspects of the stories depending on their frame of mind at the time. If there is a ‘story’, it is about the basic ephemerality that attends our lives and our deaths, and a longing for intensity, iridescence, for epiphany.“ (Limelight Magazine, 19.05.2018)

Read the article online

Picture of Tree of Codes by Liza Lim at Spoleto Festival 2018
Tree of Codes, Spoleto Festival USA 2018

Press quote

»Accordingly, Lim’s opera constantly inhabits a wafer-thin line between past and present, hovering somewhere between life and death, between reality and dream, filled with birdsong and sounds reflecting the passing of time. Her orchestra of 17 includes ‘exotic’ percussion, electronics, musical toys and unconventional use of traditional instruments. Musically, it’s a highly attractive score – though rarely conventionally tonal – with some standout set pieces like the story of the two-headed birds sung over pizzicato strings and tuned percussion. [...] One of Australia’s most important cultural exports, Lim was clearly delighted that her opera was capable of spawning such totally different directorial responses in its first two stagings. It will be interesting to see if an Australian company or festival might take it up as there is still much to explore in this intriguingly enigmatic and oddly compelling work.«
Limelight Magazine, 07.06.2018

Read the article online

Tree of Codes, Spoleto Festival USA 2018


Photo: Leigh Webber, William Struhs