Mirror Game - a new opera by Celka ojakangas and Amy punt
About Mirror Game: The opera examines issues of gender bias through the journey of one ambitious female video game designer who decides to take matters of the sexist gaming industry into her own hands. A multimedia production, Mirror Game incorporates electroacoustic music, projections and choreography for a rich sensory experience that combines reality with the imaginative virtual reality of video games.
From left to right: Celka Ojakangas, composer; Amy Punt, librettist; Kristine McIntyre, director; Christine Meadows, workshop producer and Vollum Professor of Voice at Portland State; Kathy Maxwell, lighting and projection
Note from the composer:
Amy Punt and I started conceptualizing Mirror Game just last fall (2018) - Amy approached me and asked if I would like to write an opera with her. It was an obvious yes - Amy Punt and composer Mark Weiser had just had a successful series of performances earlier that year for their opera The Place Where You Started. I was delighted that she would ask; I had my eye on the opera medium for quite some time and knew she and Mark, together with my mentor Ted Hearne, would have the resources and knowledge to help me develop something new.
Fortunately, Portland State’s Opera had recently started commissioning new works and commissioned Amy and me to write this piece for a workshop performance with their students. We considered relevant subject matter as we would be working with a younger audience, and what better youthful medium would there be to emulate than video games? Gender bias was on the front of our minds as well, us having both experienced while venturing into our respective fields. We examined how we and other women react to the obstacles we face as we try to develop our careers. Amy has a very interesting post about how she explored the subjects for Mirror Game on her site. You can (and should!) read it here.
I am sincerely excited about this opera. We’ve made plenty of progress - the libretto is finished (contact me for the script) and together Amy and I have workshopped with the team at New Opera West to learn more about what will work and not work while I’m writing. We are also delighted to be the recipients of OPERA America’s 2019 Discovery Grant for Female Composers and look forward to meeting everyone at OPERA America’s conferences in San Francisco and New York City.
Cybil, Olivia and Melody play a video game with real-life consequences. “Playing With The Big Boys” is a multi-player game designed to teach women how to “make it in a man’s world.” The “man’s world” is a Silicon Valley gaming company. It rewards masculine behaviors while also providing an onslaught of casual and overt misogyny through Tony, the manager and Rohm, the CEO.
Overtly, Mirror Game explores the consequences of internalizing the masculine narrative and subverting the feminine within. Cybil, (inspired by Elizabeth Holmes) creates a lie that sky-rockets her to fame and success. Yet, it metastasizes within her, perverting the woman she once was. While it first appears she wins the game, once the lie is exposed, she loses everything, including the woman she loves, Olivia.
CREATIVE TEAM for Workshop Performance
Composer: Celka Ojakangas
Librettist: Amy Punt
Director: Kristine McIntyre
Producer: Christine Meadows, Vollum Professor of Voice at Portland State University
Lighting and Projection Designs: Kathy Maxwell
SCORE AND PRODUCTION INFORMATION
Date: November 2019
Duration: 90 minutes
Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, 2 violins, viola, cello, piano, MIDI keyboard with self-developed patches, percussion, fixed media (electronic sounds); piano reduction available.
Animated projections with original video game imagery designed by Kristine McIntyre and Kathy Maxwell.
Melody – Soprano
Cybil – Soprano
Olivia – Mezzo Soprano
Rohm – Tenor
Tony – Baritone
Workshop Performance: Piano/vocal workshop at Portland State University, November 2019
We are looking for producers; please contact us here
(click to read)
OPERA AMERICA ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS OF OPERA GRANTS FOR FEMALE COMPOSERS - Opera America
Celka Ojakangas wins grant from Opera America - USC Thornton Press
Podcast 62: Winners of the 2019 OPERA America Women Composers Discovery Grants - Indie Opera Podcast
$100,000 GRANTS FOR WOMEN WHO ARE WRITING OPERAS - SlippedDisc
Mirror Game Opera - AmyPunt.com