ABSTRACT

The straightforward synchronization processes that have led to a ventriloquial relationship between the live singing voice and the movie characters in La Belle et la Bête are followed by more complex body-voice de-synchronization procedures used in Writing to Vermeer.1 Applying “new” voices and music to ready-made existing images (in the case of Glass’s piece to the moving images of Cocteau’s film) is a procedure that plays an important role in Writing to Vermeer, too. In this postopera, the images that are being operatized are the paintings of Johannes Vermeer (1632-75). They get their fictional textual, sonorous, musical, and vocal dimensions when the situations that Vermeer painted are re-enacted, envoiced, and multiplied on stage.2 The silent world of baroque painting becomes a Vermeerian multimedia singing tableau vivant-the site of a projected written text, female singing voices, triplicate singing/dancing figures, and music in which video, dance, and opera have been put together in dynamic co-existence, framed by the simulation of female figures and the situations represented in Vermeer’s paintings.