FOUR LARKS: Led by Director/Composer Mat Sweeney and Designer/Choreographer Sebastian Peters-Lazaro, the company devises new interdisciplinary works in unexpected locations. Acclaimed for their immersive aesthetic and fiercely independent mode of production, Four Larks has quickly established itself in LA’s new performance scene.
“In recent years, opera has been on tough times…But with new companies like Four Larks, whose “junkyard” opera staged in an abandoned warehouse drew raves last year, the face of the medium is changing.”
The Hollywood Reporter
Four Larks acoustic scores are created for a mix of classical and folk instruments, voices and found objects.
UNDINE: ‘Undine’s Curse’ refers to a fatal respiratory disease and the eponymous German fable in which a water spirit curses her mortal lover to die if he falls asleep. Four Larks’ Undine follows a sleepless musician as he is submerged into his composition. This heavily stylized ‘junkyard’ opera delves into the depths of the mind, where myth, memory and creation intersect. Text and motivs are sourced from folklore across cultures and mediums; sirens, mermaids, selkies, ningyos, etc, in which the sea becomes a mirror to humankind’s deepest fear and desire.
Three actor/dancers perform the role of the protagonist, alone with his piano. As he furiously notates, the sounds of the storm and sea outside begin to infiltrate his music as water starts to seep into his room. The composer’s tightly controlled Romantic concerto gives way to a primal folk-tinged dirge, awash with harp, dulcimer and hurdy-gurdy, as his imaginary orchestra takes on a life of it’s own.
Four Larks recorded some key passages of the developing score during a worshop in their rehearsal shed in Melbourne, which can be heard at fourlarks.bandcamp.com/album/undine