Operatic performance seeks to compress a multitude of specific art mediums into a single temporal experience; poetic narrative, dramatic performance, music (both vocal and orchestral), costume, lighting, stage and scenery design. But, to go to the opera is much more than just the performance itself. It involves all of the preliminary anticipatory experiences of the opera house. The entries, lobbies, stairways, foyers, bars and restaurants are an integral part of the opera event.
This is where the architecture of the opera house becomes a crucial piece in a larger performance; a social, cultural and aesthetic performance. Cultural institutions such as theaters, performance halls, museums, and operas provide and provoke much more than just a functional display of artwork. They are participatory pieces in the complexity of societal relations, both in the direct experiences of each patron, and through the larger urban and cultural conditions that surround the building. The opera, as a cultural hub, becomes a beacon that simultaneously draws people in while projecting identity out.
We have responded to this challenge by making three specific interventions into the opera house organization: First, the hierarchically striated auditorium seating staggers and compresses to become more intimate, egalitarian and experiential; second, the promenade of foyer/circulation is elongated into a mediating space for the participatory act of anticipatory congregation; and lastly the pragmatic cruciform of performance stage and side stages become permeable, editable and adaptable by taking on exhibition programs as seasons and schedules permit.
suckerPUNCH: What or who influenced this project?
YOUNG & AYATA: Korean horror films, foregrounding Paris Opera foreplay, Tim Hawkinson, Ross Bleckner, Carlo Mollino, the idea that a surface edge could be lost and then gained back, and, as always, the Millennium Falcon.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
Y&A: Reading: William Ivans – Prints and Visual Communication, Alois Riegl – Late Roman Art Industry, Gustave Flaubert – Three Tales
Listening: We were into Spotify this summer, so listening to music was a constant push through related artists, you start with Wire, end with the Melt-Banana, and somehow in between you pass through Muddy Waters.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
Y&A: Ruy Klein, Gage/Clemenceau, Freeland Buck.
Location: Busan, South Korea
Type: Performing & Visual Arts Center
Structure: Concrete, Steel
Team: Michael Young, Kutan Ayata (Principals), Thomas Heltzel, Luis Felipe Paris, Jonathan Alexander,
Chrysokona Mavrou, Laura Carter.