Your High Imperial

Kenneth Doren

2000, 17:00 minutes, colour, English


Your High Imperial has a duration of seventeen minutes with music composed by Kenneth Doren who also developed the concept. The libretto developed by Christina Willings forms disparate sexual and political text inpired by the biblical Songs of Soloman, George Bernard Shaw's The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism and the Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer) which served as a guidebook for Insquisitors during the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. This is a digital video opera based on the compositionsof J.S. Bach's organ music and Guiseppe Tartini's The Devil's Sonata form the digitally recomposed music that is transcribed for a brass quintet and two violins for a live rendition. Two opera singers, Christina Willings and Maman (a man in drag) perform the libretto in a number of different costumes and settings. Clips of the opera singers are combined and edited with a video performance of Bizet's symbolic Carmen to create a visual and musical collage while also being intellectually slippery. The opera creates a visually pulsing new musing on the selected text while penetrating traditional musical and theatrical methods with the use of technology.

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Critical Writing

Your High Imperial: Performance by Kenneth Doren
by Kristin Evenden. Artichoke, Spring 2001, v. 13, no. 1.
Kenneth Doren
by Zoe Williams.