Rei Kawakubo’s “Transformation and Liberation” project will finally come to life at Vienna's State Opera in all its majestic, abstract splendour, Sunday, Dec. 8, in the world premiere of Virginia Woolf's Orlando.
This modern-day portrayal of Orlando is a marriage of great minds: Woolf, Kawakubo and composer Olga Neuwirth, one of the most forward-thinking figures in opera today and the first woman to be commissioned by the Vienna Opera House since its inception.
“Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in everything from the arts to politics, from the sciences to architecture and human psychology… I have let myself be inspired by the small and big things that this world has to offer, by the wonderful diversity of life and I see this reflected in Orlando,” Neuwirth said in a statement. In 19 scenes, Neuwirth will guide this story from the 16th century to modern times.
Kawakubo’s “Transformation and Liberation” project was directly inspired by Orlando,one of the first mainstream literary works that explores gender identity. A satire inspired by the family of Woolf’s close friend and lover, poet, Vita Sackville-West, it is an adventurous tale of an androgynous poet who changes his sex and mingles throughout the ages with top lives for figures of English literary history. "Transformation and Liberation" was released to the public in two initial drops - one during mens week in June and another in September in Paris, in a runway show where queens and nobles, courtiers and courtesans donned unexpected silhouettes and ironic, fantastical ensembles.
Photos released by Comme Des Garçons of the project's third act reveal colourful garments with an aristocratic, space age-spirit -- Kawakubo’s whimsical creativity at its finest.
The opera performance is the crowning third act of Kawakubo’s trilogy. Five performances are scheduled of the opera performance — one of which will be live-streamed on Dec.
©Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn
Hair creations and wigs by Julien d’Ys