Songs and Dances of Desire: In Memoriam Carmen Rupe will be unleashed on 8 March, as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2013.
Itâs the work of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) Composer-in-Residence Jack Body.
He says itâs not a story, but more a psychological exploration of gender identity and of the human capacity to transform oneâs self.
âTwo female singers, one MÄori and one Spanish, sing powerful texts by women poets, while a countertenor sings four ârecontextualisedâ arias from Bizetâs Carmen,â he explains.
âThe MÄori transvestite dancer performs five character dances that Carmen Rupe danced (or wished she had danced!) during her days as a cabaret artist: Carmen, African Snake Dance, Salome, Hawaiian Hula and Mata Hari.
âThus, the work alternates between the lightness of high camp and a darkness that expresses female desire and anguish.â
Part concert and part performance, and will brought to life musically by the APO; Guitarist Norio Sato; soloists Xiao Ma and Anna Pierard; and conducted by Ken Young.
An excerpt of the work, Carmen Dances, was performed in 2002.
âI am thrilled that the complete work, with singers, will at last be heard and seen as part of the 2013 Auckland Arts Festival,â Body says.
âWith Carmenâs death in December 2011, the performance will have added poignancy.â
Auckland Arts Festival 2013 Artistic Director Carla van Zon says the team couldnât be happier that at long last Bodyâs Carmen opus will be coming to life.
âThe combination of the bold APO, with diverse and edgy performers in the glorious Town Hall, Iâm sure would make Carmen proud.â