Deconstructing the arias originally sung by castrato singers, artist Lina Lapelyte reflected upon femininity and gender with her new work for an all-female group of performers with low voices. Hunky Bluff is “a deadpan negotiation of gender from deep within ambiguity, a performance of arias from the period when all the high pitched arias by Handel, Vivaldi and J.C. Bach were performed by castrati, those peculiar mutated creatures whose maturation was arrested in a fanatical search for the sublime… To go one step further into the twisting of normativity, these arias have been lowered in pitch, rearranged and deconstructed for female performers who have very low ‘masculine’ voices.” (David Toop)
‘Esmeralda was amazing and I feel really grateful for her to join the Hunky Bluff and bring fresh energy and strengths to it.’
We All Turn This Way
Voice Figures – a performance based installation
In the 1880s the singing teacher Margaret Watts Hughes invented a device she called the Eidophone. It consisted of a tube that she sung into. At the other end of the tube a membrane of stretched rubber would be caused to resonate. She created images on its surface using her voice to vibrate watercolour paste and fine powder into forms. She was able to sing flowers; daisies, pansies, and sunflowers, later on extending her repertoire to include quasi-religious imagery such as serpents in landscapes. Her work attracted the curiosity of the scientific institutions of the day, attempting to understand the relationship between the voice, sound and its ability to conjure up such manifestations of nature.Hughes’ performances created a minor sensation and demonstrations were given at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Society. The artist and president of the Royal Academy of Arts, Lord Frederick Leighton invited Hughes to perform at a soiree at his Holland Park studio in London. Whilst the results of her work attracted attention, it was of such a personal nature that it was found impossible to evaluate in a scientific way.
Esmeralda has been a strong project collaborator over two years helping Laessing recreate the Eidophones and performing Voice Figures all over Europe.
In an evening exploring bodily integrity and invasive procedures, artist Marianna Simnett presented a musical performance, accompanied by footage from her recent films, The Udder, Blood and Blue Roses.
Written and directed by Marianna Simnett
Produced by Emily Rudge
Music composed and arranged by Leo Chadburn
Film music by Lucinda Chua
Performed by Francis Bamford, Emily Burn, Anne-Marie Cullum, Clemmie Franks, Chloe Morgan
Esmeralda helped Marianna and her team to find and cast the right singers.