‘Antigone’s of the Pandemic’ is a tribute to the many volunteers worldwide who helped with the funerals and cremations during the pandemic, often risking their own lives. The VR opera is an opera, mourning ritual, film and documentary in one. Siavash Naghshbandi developed data-animations based on the death rates of the pandemic and Miranda Lakerveld’s staging is inspired by funeral rituals and music from India, The Middle East and Indonesia.
The opera is inspired by the myth of Antigone, the Greek heroine who was not allowed to bury her brother Polyneices. She fought to give him his final rites and give him a dignified end of his life, at the risk of her own. Miranda Lakerveld and Siavash Naghshbandi created an intimate mourning ritual in which the viewer is in close contact with the performers. It features music of hope and mourning from different cultures, including new compositions by Alfian Adytia, Chetna Sahni Sehgal and Setareh Nafisi.
Part One: Indonesia – A Prayer for Protection
Part Two: India – The Mystery of Life and Death
Part Three: Middle East and North Africa – A Place to Mourn
Miranda Lakerveld and her company World Opera Lab see opera as a global art form that reflects on contemporary issues. Miranda has done extensive research on mythologies and music dramas from around the world. She creates new pieces in the area between the classical opera repertoire and other music-drama traditions, such as Turan Dokht in Tehran and a rewrite of Monteverdi’s Arianna in 7 languages. Miranda Lakerveld has been researching traditional music drama since 2011, in countries including Iran, Japan, China, Mexico and the Tibetan community in India, and collaborated with traditional musicians and singers to develop the World Opera Lab working method. She has created a series of documentary operas with the Balie on current issues in the Middle East. Last year the documentary opera Ine Aya’, about the devastating deforestation in Kalimantan, premiered at the Holland Festival, which will tour in Indonesia in the summer 2022.
Siavash Naghshbandi is a Tehran-based visual artist who makes groundbreaking work showing the effect of AI on our modern lives. He previously created the spectacular image for World Opera Lab production Turan Dokht, in which the patterns of the Persian miniatures came to life. For the performance Ine’ Aya’ he created a beautiful visual image that translated the data of deforestation into video-design. He is developing into new media like VR, recently his work Forget Past World was selected at FIVARS festival.
Naghshbandi and Lakerveld previously worked together on successful World Opera Lab productions such as ‘Turan Dokht’ and ‘Ine Aya’. World Opera Lab makes opera productions since 2014 that bridge cultural differences and reflect contemporary global issues in poetic ways. World Opera Lab operates worldwide and together with an international teams creates productions on special locations, such as in the historical production ‘Turan Dokht’ in Iran and ‘Orfeo in India’. In 2021, World Opera Lab produced the much acclaimed ‘Ine Aya’, an opera about the deforestation in Kalimantan.