Photo by Ilaria Orsini. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Academy of Music.
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After enthralling audiences at the 2019 Venice Biennale, and earning its all-woman creative team (Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelyte) the much-coveted Golden Lion, “Sun & Sea” launches its national tour on September 15 at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

Using twenty-five tons of sand to transform each theater into a lively beach, sunbathing characters offer up a range of seductive harmonies and melodic stories that glide between the mundane, the sinister, and the surreal. From the sprawling narrative of their lives emerges a piercing exploration of climate change; shining light on the complex relationship between people and our planet. The piece is brought to life by 13 vocalists who are surrounded by approximately 25 adventurous local community members in each city who act as fellow beach-goers.

“’Sun & Sea’ started with the image of vacationers lying on a sandy beach and singing; their half-naked bodies observed from above, from the sun’s perspective, as if humankind were insects, finding parallels with the temporality of the colossal body – the body of the Earth,” said librettist Vaiva Grainytė on behalf of the artistic team. “The libretto of the piece is set as a mosaic of stories, inner monologues, dreams and thoughts, sung in solos and as a chorus by the beachgoers. This ‘soup’ of stories might sound mundane and carefree, however, in this liturgical, poppy, and synthetic ocean of songs one can feel an impending threat. The picture of enjoyable holidays belies the consequences of this inertia – planetary resources being extracted as if sipping fizzy Piña Colada.”

“Sun & Sea” is the second collaboration for these three artists who focus on the relationship between documentary and fiction, reality and poetry, and how theater, music and the visual arts intertwine. Their previous work, the contemporary opera “Have a Good Day!” for 10 cashiers, supermarket sounds, and piano, premiered in 2013 and is touring worldwide.

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