Kenneth Doren: Rule Britannia: A Low Opera in Grand Shite Style

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Kenneth Doren: Rule Britannia: A Low Opera in Grand Shite Style

September 5, 2009 @ 11:00 am - October 17, 2009 @ 5:00 pm


KENNETH DOREN‘s RULE BRITANNIA: a low opera in grand shite style is an interdisciplinary performance about the past as well as the human potential to act, or simply knowing that we just don’t have it in us. This “Low Opera” questions current and historical issues while interpreting social codes and philosophies. It is about the personal quest for greatness as well as the poetic beauty of falling from grace. RULE BRITANNIA: a low opera in grand shite style is summed up in the musical movement titles, borrowed from three consecutive lines from the second book of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost 1667. This opera might even humbly be seen as a contemporary interpretation of this great literary work.

Musically, this type of inter-disciplinary work elaborates on Doren’s investigation in re-thinking Western classical music, performed and produced using multi-media elements, uncommon to classical concert music, to challenge the roles of the musician and composer. Doren’s process for composing involves the use of sampling and manipulating source material via computer technology, then transcribing the new digital versions for an acoustic instrument performance, forming a complexity of untraditional harmonies and rhythms. For RULE BRITANNIA: a low opera in grand shite style, the scoring is for two pianos (facing away from each other) and was inspired by British piano music. Mezzo Soprano Patrice Jegou improvises vocally within certain guidelines and styles that were pre-planned, videotaped and edited for a visual display in two video monitors, one on top of each piano. Her edited performance developed different costumed characters and presents an operatic visual presentation that plays homage to the grand “Shite Style” of yesteryear.

RULE BRITANNIA: a low opera in grand shite style
33 mins.
Writing, directing and music composition: Kenneth Doren
Video Mezzo Soprano: Patrice Jegou
Libretto: Carl Ayling
Pianists: Joseph Ferretti, Elaine Lau, Fiona Jane Wood, Stephanie Chua
Music transcription: Matt Firmston
Technical support: Martin Eckart

1- Overture
2- Of Providence
3- Foreknowledge
4- Will
5- And Fate
6- Fixed Fate
7- Free Will
8- Foreknowledge Absolute
9- And Found No End & In Wandering Maze Lost

Kenneth Doren’s RULE BRITANNIA: a low opera in grand shite style includes two performances: Saturday, 12 SEPTEMBER 2009 at 6:00 PM and Saturday, 17 OCTOBER 2009 at 6:00 PM, both at YYZ.

KENNETH DOREN is a Canadian multi-media artist and composer whose art installations, videos and digital operas have been presented in Canada, China, Finland, and the U.S.A. His work and practice employs musical interventions and political discourse utilizing video and performance to decode the subject. Doren has developed a number of personal projects that he has termed ‘digital operas’ incorporating video and musical performance that challenge the parameters of composition, and the performance of western classical music and text. The digital operas and video work are performance spectacles in which Doren has appropriated historical texts and juxtaposed them with references to pop culture. Doren obtained his MFA from NSCAD University in 2005 and received an Alumni Award from Alberta College of Art and Design for recognition as one of the top 75 students throughout ACAD’s seventy-five year history.

Read MARK CLINTBERG‘S The Vernacular Opera, an essay about KENNETH DOREN‘S exhibition.


September 5, 2009 @ 11:00 am
October 17, 2009 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


140-401 Richmond St. W.
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8 Canada