Science! The Opera

Art or Science? 

They seem like opposites, one driven by data and the other by emotion. Have we bridged art and science? Both are inquisitive with a fearless approach to the unknown.  

Susanna Wong, External Collaborator at CERN, SIAE Composer and Art Director of POP Science Poetry Production says, Opera needs to be reinvented, because if it does not change, it slowly disappears”.  An opera performance is an extraordinary production using sight, hearing, imagination and sensibility of the audience where all human passions are at work. This art form needs a fresh perspective joining all the components and blending their expressiveness in a effort to understand, or should I say understand better, the world and how it works. 

The multicultural journey

Susanna was born in Ecuador, of Chinese origin, a naturalized Italian citizen, living in Geneva. Susanna’s multi-cultural background and natural passion for communication, music, dance, science and literature paved the way for curiosity. Her journey began in 2006 when she started mixing science and the arts together, developing POP Science poetry, an out-reach program of CERN funded by the European Union. An initiative that brought poets together with physicists to help share their fascination of science through poetry.

This project proved to be a success, which inspired her to think out of bounds. With her passion for the arts, and the intense feeling that the latest discoveries of science are meaningful only if people are aware of them and the research involved. Susanna was challenged, how can she make the connection?

Susanna’s inspiration stems back to her early adult years when she felt inspired by reading about the discoveries that were changing the world. She had a feeling of intrigue that scientists were grasping the change.She recognized it was not easy for scientists and researchers in the past, as they were considered absurd when they first introduced their findings to the world, but later found they changed humanity for the better.

Despite its unquestionable importance, we must recognize that science does not always lend itself to uncomplicated explanation. Facts are questioned, in favour of emotion and gut feeling.  What if we could explain these findings in a way that everyone could understand and at the same time reintroduce an old art form that represents the clearest embodiment of music, orchestration, elaborate performances, and grand stories?

Sounds of science

The OPERA Project - a mix of art and science to create a modern opera and a powerful channel to reflect and tell a story. Susanna’s vision is to realize a creative development with collaboration of artists, authors, musicians, actors, directors and choreographers to produce a production that will make opera come alive again in a most unusual way.
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Her mission is to express the two sides of understanding, one rational, the other emotional. Scientists and their emotions: highs and lows, the elation of making a breakthrough and the misery of not doing so. Modern physics being unfamiliar to most people, will have the platform to share idea through a creative collaboration.

Preserving the Opera

Science applauds the beauty of their concepts and equations. On the other hand, as humans we are intensely visual creatures. It will be extraordinary to use art to translate those concepts and equations into forms that are visual, and that wide audience can admire and enjoy.The production of Opera has diminished, mainly for the appearance of new forms of entertainment.

  “These rarely reflect the new vision of the world”, says Susanna Wong.

Image source Morguefile
Instruments, musicians and vocals together giving strength to the other: a new message, new insight and emotions are appearing. Exactly the same process that occurs during collaboration over scientific research. The Opera project will tell the story of inspired new discoveries and science with a 360 degree view. It will be written together by a global community of scientists, artists and choreographers.

The Opera project will be a collaboration with NASA, LIGO and IdeaSquare, CERN and International Opera Award in Italy. An integration of science, art and education in creative ways providing potential and the much needed framework for new ways of questioning and knowledge creation. 

As of now, this project is in the early stages of development.Subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter or Facebook while science through arts will revive the Opera and its heritage. 

Interested to know more? Or, to help realize this project, contact us at opera@scimpulse.org

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