An opera about our desperate desire to belong to a community, and the dangerous power of charismatic leaders.
Missy Mazzoli: The Listeners (2021, WP)
A middle-class mother living in a suburb of south western America suddenly notices a ‘hum’ in the air – a high-frequency noise that only a select few people – the Listeners – can hear.
A community organisation quickly forms to solve the mystery of the hum, but their meetings become increasingly cult-like, ritualised experiences. It becomes clear that this community of ‘Listeners’ is on a collision course with destruction.
In a major coup for the Norsk Opera & Ballett – in collaboration ith the Chicago and Philadelphia Opera Houses – one of the greatest living American composers premieres an important new work right here in Oslo with Ultima.
The Listeners examines the lengths to which people are willing to go in order to find a sense of place and purpose, and the way charismatic leaders can exploit divided societies. An enduring part of American identity is a sense of deserved success and happiness. When this imagined future collides with the realities and struggles of everyday life, dazzling and predatory leaders offering a ‘quick fix’ can easily prey on the vulnerabilities of the lonely and lost.
The Brooklyn based, Grammy-nominated US composer Missy Mazzoli is one of the most inventive, surprising composers currently working in New York. Her apocalyptic imagination has created music for orchestras, chamber groups, and TV/film soundtracks for Amazon TV among others.