Chamber opera (duration c. 40″)
Adapted with permission from the short story David Davis at Coldpigeon Dot Com by Meredi Ortega.
Performed in a semi-staged reading at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 7 February 2020.
Bari, Sop, 2 M-S, Ten; Fl/AFl/Picc, Cl/BCl, Vla, Vc, Pno.
In the vaudevillian first act, David Davis is an unpleasant individual who gets a ‘prime’ email- his name, in its purest form, at a new email server called Dovemail.com. He begins to receive the emails intended for the other David Davises of the world thanks to typos and misheard addresses and he starts to reply. Intoxicated by this new power of mistaken identity, he inserts himself into family squabbles, professional disputes and breaks up love affairs. In the second act, David receives an email from a poet, Erasmus, who has mistaken him for a poetry professor. David finds Erasmus’ poem, A Poem for Emergencies, utterly ridiculous and in no uncertain terms, tells Erasmus so. Erasmus disappears from David’s life and he returns to his fun of strategically spoiling other people’s lives via inbox. He hears of a suicide- presumably of Erasmus. Simultaneously, the emails begin to pile up- thousands, then millions- beginning to overwhelm and crush David as he begins to consider the potential consequences of electronic correspondence and the unknown fragilities of remote human connection. ‘They wrote to me‘, he insists, as the opera ends on an unsettled ambiguity.
Conducted by Huw Belling; Directed by Andrew McInnes; Performed by David Hidden (David), Rebecca Hart (Erasmus), and Deepka Ratra, Bree Meara-Hendy and Hamish James (Chorus). Lighting and Surtitles by Morgan Moroney; Additional Dramaturgy by Clemence Williams; Videography by David Kim Boyle; Instrumental Ensemble of Michelle Yue Wang (Flute), Jarred Mattes (Clarinet), May Bardsley (Viola), Freya Schack-Arnott (Cello), Philip Eames (Piano); Additional musical preparation by Ben Burton.