Three Tales is a digital documentary opera in three acts with music by Steve Reich for an amplified and electronic instrumental and vocal ensemble, with video by Beryl Korot.
If The Guardian writes that “there are only a handful of living composers who can legitimately say that they have changed the course of music history and Steve Reich is one of them”, and if The New York Times assures us that “Reich is our best living composer”, and if The New Yorker defines him as “the most original musical thinker of our time”, then it is clear that we are in the presence of a living legend”. If we add his collaboration with visual artist Beryl Korot, recognised since the early 1970s as a pioneer of video art (and who has exhibited her work in such places as the Whitney Museum in New York, the Tate Modern in London or the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal, among many others) then the result is something as extraordinary as the work Three Tales: a digital documentary opera in three acts with music by Steve Reich for an amplified and electronic instrumental and vocal ensemble, with video by Beryl Korot.
In this work, an entire century of technological revolution is summarised in three milestones that marked, each in its own unique way, the history of humanity. Three Tales takes risks in both its content and its format (it bears little resemblance to what a lyrical production is in the collective imagination) in order to draw an arc from the daring means of transport to the future of our species. The first act, Hindenburg, recounts the brutal explosion of the zeppelin of that name in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937, supported by the projection of historical images and an interview. Bikini, the second act, recalls the nuclear tests that took place once the Second World War had come to an end, and for which a local population, totally oblivious to such western madness, was forcibly displaced. And the third act, Dolly, travels to the start of the cloning race, which would be followed by the conceptualisation of the human body as a genetic machine capable of being modified at will. The powerful images of Three Tales are supported by instrumentalists and singers positioned beneath a huge screen, a fact that makes us reflect on the lights and shadows of scientific advances, the physical nature and the ethics of technological development.
Musical director: Nacho de Paz
Sound operator: Norbert Ommer
Video operator: Johannes Bernstein (Big Cinema GMBH)
Cast: Members of the Choir of the Teatro Real Opera House. Soloists of the Orchestra of the Teatro Real Opera House
Act I: Hindenburg - 16 minutes
Act II: Bikini - 2 minutes
Act III: Dolly - 27 minutes