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

“This was a highlight and suggested to me one possible future for opera”
Jonathan Reekie CBE – Cultural Highlights of 2018

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 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.


Commissioned by Ultima Contemporary Music Festival and premiered in September 2015 at Nasjonal jazzscene – Oslo.

Original concept supported by Fondazione Claudio Buziol – Venice, Muziektheater Transparant – Antwerp in collaboration with Teatro Fondamenta Nuove – Venice.

Previous dates:

Teatro San Giorgio |FORMA Festival – Udine, Italy
19 October 2019

Korzo Theatre | Rewire Festival – The Hague, The Netherlands
30 March 2019

Purcell Room, Southbank Centre – London
4 September 2018

Sound Festival – Aberdeen
10 November 2017

SPILL Festival of Performance – Ipswich
26 October 2016

ULTIMA Festival – Oslo, Norway
15 September 2015


Photo credit: Guido Mencari