Len Lye comes to life, opera-style
Len Lye Opera to premiere at Auckland's Maidment TheatreHANNAH FLEMING
Len Lye's legacy will soon be brought to life - opera-style.
Len Lye the Opera will premiere at Auckland's Maidment Theatre from September 5 to 8.
New Zealand cinematographer Leon Narbey, known for his work on films Whale Rider and The Orator, arrived in New Plymouth yesterday to film Len Lye's collection at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
Narbey's footage will be used as the background for a scene during the opera which depicts Lye's decision to head home to New Zealand from the United States and have his collection stored in New Plymouth.
"This particular scene shows the point where he is packing up his life to move to New Zealand. We're trying to make it look like a loading dock," he said.
Filming in the gallery provided a trip down memory lane for Narbey, who was the artist behind the first exhibition held at Govett-Brewster when it opened in 1970.
Award-winning film-maker and the opera's moving image maker, Shirley Horrocks, was also in New Plymouth and said Len Lye was the perfect subject to centre an opera. "He was such a lively character and had the most interesting life," she said.
"His story offered all the conflicts and all the love interest we expect from an opera.”
Mrs Horrocks said the production was full of multi-media, which gave it a modern take on traditional opera.
"You have to have moving images because it is about Len Lye, after all," she said.
While the production will be held in Auckland, Horrocks' husband Roger, Lye's one-time assistant and writer of the libretto, said they had looked at staging it in Taranaki and would love to eventually bring the opera to New Plymouth.
"Unfortunately, it's an expensive business to stage a big production like this and it will depend on finding a local sponsor," he said. "For the time being we are very focused on the Auckland premiere."
Mr and Mrs Horrocks recently returned from the Anima Mundi animation film festival held in Brazil, where Len Lye was hailed as a master of animation, and source of inspiration for film-makers.
The couple both received awards for their contribution and recognition of Len Lye.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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