Antarctica is a contemporary opera co-production between Asko|Schönberg and Sydney Chamber Opera that premiered at the Holland Festival before featuring at the Sydney Festival.
Mary Finsterer’s composition is a fusion of early music, contemporary orchestration and sonic recordings made in Antarctica of oceans, sonar signals and the movements of microscopic animals. The stage design responds to this by placing period characters inside a hyper-modern frame of data, mapping connections and dissonances between the Age of Discovery and the Anthropocene.
Noise algorithms randomly select and animate fragments of raw data relating to Antartica, including geographic coordinates, ice core readings, research stations and ancient fauna species, combined with verbatim quotes from flood survivors, sourced from news articles about recent extreme flooding occurrences in Australia.
The text-based imagery is displayed on a nine-meter tall LED screen and played live for each performance using a custom coded, real-time, midi-controlled visual instrument. As the imagery is randomly generated and triggered in response to the live music, each performance is unique and never repeated.