The Oper&

Bill Seaman
Source: Bill Seaman

Bill Seaman

The Oper& , ongoing
Co-workers & Funding
By John Supko and Bill Seaman
Directed by Jim Findlay
Performed by Lorelei Ensemble
Video Design by Keith Skretch
Source Imagery by Bill Seaman
Realtime Machine Learning Software Design by Matt Kenney
    1330 × 744
  • The Oper&
    960 × 540
Duke Performances, Durham, 2018 - world premiere

A bold new opera developed at Duke University that uses the high-drama framework of opera and advanced technology to explore ideas of apocalypse, renewal, and survival in the modern age. During each performance, a computer system preloaded with video, sound, and poetic text fragments generates an original world, specific to the room and audience. That world eventually cedes to entropy, disintegrating from disaster and destruction until it falls into chaos, only to be rebuilt. The cycle repeats. A voice — the system’s — narrates the action, expressing the computer’s consciousness as a chorus of voices responds to the changing environment. The score moves from minimal and ambient to complex, industrial textures, a soundscape linked to the rise and fall and rise of the world within the room.

The team behind THE_OPER& (pronounced “the operand”) is an accomplished one. John Supko, a Duke music professor and acclaimed composer, partnered with Duke art professor and “recombinant poetics” pioneer Bill Seaman to build both text and music; Seaman also contributed high-definition video. Award-winning director and designer Jim Findlay, a frequent Duke Performances collaborator and a Duke alumnus, is the production designer and director. Narrated by Seaman and sung by Boston’s heralded eight-voice Lorelei Ensemble, THE_OPER& is a multidisciplinary collaboration that evokes the opera of Robert Ashley, the linguistic games of Raymond Roussel, and the experimental productions of Robert Wilson. An allegory for our uncertain times and an examination of our interface with the technology we create, THE_OPER& asks essential questions about the kind of future we may pursue.
  • aesthetics
    • performative
    • projected
    • real-time
    • visual
  • technology
    • displays
      • electronic displays
        • projectors
    • hardware
      • video (analog)
    • software
      • video (digital)
Technology & Material
Installation Requirements / Space
● 4 x 8,000 lumen or higher HD video projectors with a contrast ratio of at
least 1000:1, native resolution of 1920x1080 or 1920x1200.
● 1 Mac Pro computer for video processing. Must be capable of 4
independent channels of HD output.
● 1 Isadora software license for the duration of the exhibition (available for rental).
● SDI, HD over cat5 or cat6, or other HD capable video signal paths to all
four projectors from front of house operating position. Signal compliance
with projectors is Presenter’s responsibility.
● Any necessary adapters from mini-display port to required signal as
● 4 port or greater Gigabit Ethernet Network Switcher.
● 4 x 100’ Cat5 Ethernet cable for networking
● One 21” or larger HDMI capable video monitor for use with Mac Pro with a
6’ HDMI cable.
● Professional 4 way excellent quality sound system with speakers sufficient
to produce 90db SPL at every location in the exhibition venue. All
processing should be accessible by the installation engineer.
● 1 Digital mixing console.
● 1 Mac Pro computer with a MaxMSP (Max 6) license.
● Digital audio interface with at least 3 output channels (MOTU Utlralite mk3
for example)
a computer system preloaded with video, sound, and poetic text fragments generates an original world, specific to the room and audience.
Exhibitions & Events