Coming Soon: 'Milli Vanilli' The Experimental Opera... aka 'WOW' (Details...)

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by Courtney
November 30, 2012 7:18 PM
5 Comments
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We almost skipped the below press release from BRIC Arts | Media House in Brooklyn, when a closer read was encouraged, to reveal this, about midway through it:

Having previously announced a Fireworks pilot project by Julian Crouch, BRIC today announces additional recipients of Fireworks residencies for the program’s inaugural year: Fort Greene residents Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey and David Levine, whose experimental opera WOW is inspired by the story of Milli Vanilli.

That got our attention for what should be obvious reasons; an experimental opera titled WOW, inspired by the Milli Vanilli story. 

Looking over Tambay's April post on the 50+ biopics that are in limbo, you'll now that at least 2 different Milli Vanilli biopics have been announced over the last 5 to 7 years, with Brett Ratner at one time said to be attached to direct one of them, back in 2007, and later, another one was to be helmed by German filmmaker Florian Gallenberger.

Nothing has been developed on either or any other fronts; and I'm not sure if we'll ever see a Milli Vanilli movie; of course the question is, how many of you are really interested in seeing one?

In place of a Milli Vanilli film, how about a Milli Vanilli opera instead?

Talk about an operatic saga/tragedy in the Milli Vanilli story, which I think we're all familiar with on some level.

The project has apparently been in development for a few years, as I learned; here's how it's described:

The story is classically operatic: a Faustian bargain, a public disgrace, and theft of the human voice. It is also contemporary: technology and human song as well as the fate of artistic ambition in the age of mechanical reproduction. This opera will be experimental and non-linear, but written for trained singers and opera houses. It will engage both the expressive capacities of the human voice and the emotive capacities of technology. It will explore race (one singer was black, one white); nationality (German pop stars, ruined in America); sexuality (the manufacture of pop androgyny); and the formal relations of opera and pop: two men sell their voices for fame and fortune, only to be ruined when they demand their voices back. Central to the piece is the tension between what audio recording can do and the value of musical talent. The opera, like its subject, will be bilingual, containing English and German elements.

Uhhhh, unless I just missed something, neither of the 2 men was white (unless they're referring to Rob Pilatus, but he was bi-racial - African American father, white German mother). Unless they're referring to the fictional characters they've created for the opera, who are inspired by the real-life Milli Vanilli.

GalleristNY says that the development trio will "turn the BRIC House into a 'real-time media production environment,' with a recording studio built into the space where opera singers and an orchestra will perform live, as the music is sampled and looped simultaneously."

The project continues to be work-shopped throughout 2013, and this BRIC residency will eventually culminate in public performances during the 2013/2014 BRIC season.

BRIC President Leslie G. Schultz calls the project, and the other residencies, "truly imaginative projects... path-breaking projects" that will help "inaugurate BRIC House as a destination for audiences and artists who are interested in extraordinary cultural experiences."

The rest of the details in the press release below:

BRIC Announces Recipients of Fireworks Artist Residencies for BRIC House Opening Season (2013-14)

November 30, 2012

Development of Large-Scale Multimedia Works by Helga Davis, and Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey and David Levine, Will Culminate in Public Performances at New Downtown Brooklyn Arts-and-Media Complex

Brooklyn, NY / November 29, 2012 – When BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn’s multidisciplinary arts and media complex BRIC Arts | Media House opens in the downtown Brooklyn cultural district in 2013, it will house an unprecedented set of facilities and artist resources. The institution’s major commissioning and residency program, BRIC House Fireworks, epitomizes BRIC’s place on the cultural landscape. Through this new program, which was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund, BRIC will foster the development of large-scale multidisciplinary work created by artist teams and engage with diverse Brooklyn audiences. Having previously announced a Fireworks pilot project by Julian Crouch, BRIC today announces additional recipients of Fireworks residencies for the program’s inaugural year: Fort Greene residents Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey and David Levine, whose experimental opera WOW is inspired by the story of Milli Vanilli; and Helga Davis, who with a team of artists will create a 21st century reimagining of the Cassandra myth. All three residencies will culminate in public performances at BRIC House in the 2013-14 season.

BRIC President Leslie G. Schultz said: “When we conceived of the Fireworks program, with commissioning, space and resources for artist teams to create in new ways, we imagined that the possibilities would be extraordinary. We couldn’t be more excited by the truly imaginative projects from the collaborative team of Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey and David Levine, and from the artist Helga Davis. These path-breaking projects will help inaugurate BRIC House as a destination for audiences and Brooklyn artists who are interested in extraordinary cultural experiences.”

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5 Comments

  • Jodie Rocco | December 5, 2012 9:21 PMReply

    Interesting read. Suffice it to say the project can not be deemed truthful or even based on our story if the actual group, which consisted of me, Jodie Rocco, Linda Rocco, Johnny Davis and B Howell have no input. The story slash opera should be retitled The Adventures of Rob and Fab as that is what it will be. NOT the story of those who were there who created the sound that was Milli Vanilli. That is not to take away from the boys who gave us a face. However, without our talents and vocals they would be nothing, and vice versa.

    Jodie Rocco
    Yes You Know It's True

  • B | December 1, 2012 4:58 PMReply

    I would LOVE to see this!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 30, 2012 9:08 PMReply

    Ha! Lovin' it.

  • Monique A Williams | November 30, 2012 7:24 PMReply

    Am I interested in seeing this? Girl, you know it's true!! Lol

  • lovesfilmnmusic | November 30, 2012 7:40 PM

    hehehehhehe. I would LOVE to see this. I've always been fascinated with them, especially after finding out that they COULD actually sing.

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