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25th April 2015

stichting artek holland


25th April 2015

Polish National Opera, Warsaw


KRYSTIAN LADA [ libretto ]

Requiem for an icon will be a chamber opera inspired by death and afterlife of Jacqueline 'Jackie' Kennedy Onassis. This project will use live cinema technique (layering of prerecorded and live produced video images/sounds on multiple screens/speakers) to reveal and reflect on the processes of icon creation in the celebrity culture.

Jackie O., the First Lady of the United States during John F. Kennedy's presidency (1961-1963), was the closest to a princess this country ever had. She became a major American fashion icon, remembered for her style, elegance and perfection to the smallest details - one of the first products of the celebrity culture created by press and media. We will remember her forever thanks to the iconic photographs taken by Ron Gallela, widely regarded as the Godfather of U.S. paparazzi cultures and the most controversial celebrity photographer in the world. Jackie was his obsession.

The trial Gallela vs. Onassis was the first example of a celebrity vs. paparazzo court case, and became a well-bespoken social spectacle. The transcripts of that trial clearly show that the popularized in media opinion that Gallela took his pictures against the will of Jackie O., is only a part of the truth. 'Requiem for an icon' shows this relationship in a new light: Who is the intruder and who's the victim in the relation between a celebrity and a paparazzo? And who's really watching whom?

Inspired by Jackie Kennedy's iconic presence in the media as we know it from Gallela's photographs, 'Requiem for an icon' will explore and reflect on the mechanisms of celebrity culture and icon creation. The live cinema aesthetic of composition, layering archival film materials with live produced videos in the real time, reveals the processes of image generation and manipulation in media. Musical composition, based on live electronics and analog instruments, follows the traditional structure of a requiem. Non-linear libretto develops in a series of associative images inspired by the court case transcript from the trial Gallela vs. Onassis, and the newspaper articles from those times.


4 performers:

older female singer
alt male singer
baritone young male singer
boy older dancer

11 musicians:

3 violins
2 violas
2 cellos
1 clarinet/bas clarinet 1 piano/keyboard
1 electric/bass guitar 1 percussion
1 live electronics

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