Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

U-M to stage nation’s first green opera

As a new hire this year in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Robert Swedberg saw the opportunity to produce an Opera Studio class project as the nation’s first green opera.

Maurice Ravel’s opera “L’Enfant et les Sortileges” (The Child and the Magic Spells) will be presented at 7:30 p.m. April 8-9 in Stamps Auditorium, in the Walgreen Center.

The green opera will feature numerous graphic art pieces relating to the environment. (Photo courtesy Arts on Earth)

For the opera Swedberg, clinical associate professor of music, works with voice majors and a group of collaborators from several different departments including engineering, computer and environmental science, and digital media.

The green aspect of the presentation focuses on minimizing or eliminating paper schedules, posters, programs (instead offering all such information online), and using recyclable materials to build sets and costumes.

The carbon footprint for all activity related to the opera is being calculated, with the goal of either eliminating or reducing elements that can lead to greatest savings of energy in the process.

The opera will be interpreted to focus on the relationship between man and environment, as elements in the child’s room and garden come to life to pay the child back for abusive behavior.

The production features several student conductors and student choreographer Aidan Feldman. Musical Director Kathryn Goodson will accompany the performances at the piano.