JIM FINDLAY & DANIEL FISH
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning gave hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. The Source, however, is not a linear depiction of the events leading to Manning’s eventual arrest and the 35-year prison sentence she received, nor is it a retreading of the media hysteria surrounding her story. Instead, the opera approaches Manning’s identity by engaging with the content of the leaks themselves: that is, the day-to-day accounts of the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Through a larger than life four-channel video installation created by Daniel Fish and Jim Findlay, a chorus of silent witnesses looms. Four singers are housed alongside the audience in a visceral installation. Singing with (at times) electronically-processed voices, and accompanied by a live ensemble of seven instrumentalists, they inhabit (through Mark Doten’s libretto) an assemblage of Twitter feeds, cable news reports, chat transcripts, and classified military video (including “Collateral Murder”), asking how we, as individuals and a nation, confront the massive information which Manning brought to light.
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and Judy & Allen Freedman, with additional commissioning support from Justus & Helen Schlichting. Residency support was provided by Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA. Additonal support provided by the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with additional funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Anonymous, the Puffin Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
“BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCE OF 2014"
“This is no ripped-from-the-headlines documentary; rather, Mr. Hearne creates an environment of chaos and disorientation that gradually and excruciatingly envelops the listener.”
“It offers a fresh model of how opera and music theater can successfully tackle contemporary issues: not with documentary realism — television and film have that covered — but with ambiguity, obliquity, even sheer confusion.”
“Hearne manages to evoke both Manning’s inner conflicts and the vast global consequences of her actions.”
01 / 04