Of Leonardo da Vinci

“Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than with the imagination being awake?”
– Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks
  • Elaine Mitchener – soloist
  • David Toop – music & libretto [after Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks]
  • Barry Lewis – film
  • Dam Van Huynh – direction & choreography

In February 2010 I was offered a three months artist’s residency in Venice under the auspices of Fondazione Claudio Buziol and Muziektheater Transparant.

At the time I was beginning to investigate movement in my work and had tentatively incorporated these elements in solo vocal improvised pieces.

The residency allowed me to devise an original work alongside long time collaborator sound artist/improviser David Toop and photographer/filmmaker Barry Lewis. The outcome of this intense collective research was the presentation of Of Leonardo da Vinci in December 2010 at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove.

Five years later, Of Leonardo da Vinci received its World Premiere in Oslo, supported by Ultima Contemporary Music Festival. I had then brought on board choreographer Dam Van Huynh to direct this contemporary opera, exploring with him musical and choreographic reflections. This is the version that we are now bringing to SPILL Festival, giving the UK premiere of the opera.

This opera allowed me to test my ideas of a new vocal-movement-art language fusing text, movement and sound to challenge and reexamine our perceptions of live art/music theatre practice. I hope the SPILL audience enjoys following me on this path as we dive into the mind of the great Italian master.