code L is a new opera, conceived by Slovenian authors who have been successfully creating in the international arena, in many different fields of art. The project was inspired by the book A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by French philosopher Roland Barthes (1915–1980). It is one of the most original discussions of love, interpreting the love discourse in modern times as »extremely lonely«. Using a method of combining the selected emotional states with the archetypal love motifs from the literature, philosophy and everyday life, the newly created operatic piece follows Barthes's principle, drifting away at the same time into the world of independent artistic creation. Thus code L unfolds the worlds of love by means of guiding and directing them in their eternal longing through different figures, by which they are represented. Since almost every opera encroaches upon the realm of love, our new music and theatre piece is dedicated in its very special way to the art of opera, reaching its coherence and beauty through intertwining of all artistic genres. The authors of the performance are: internationally renowned Slovenian composer Milko Lazar (his first work for the Ljubljana Opera, The Tenth Daughter, was premiered in 2015), writer and dramaturge in the SNG Drama Eva Kraševec, opera director, set designer and artistic director of the Ljubljana Opera Theatre Rocc, and acknowledged visual artist and filmmaker Nataša Prosenc Stearns. The musical leadership of the performance and orchestra is entrusted to Maestro Marko Hribernik.
Text: Eva Kraševec and Rocc
I am mainly addressing the audience with a pure musical narrative, with a dramaturgy of various musical expressions in coexistence. During my creative period I walked through many musical expressions and I have now revealed these musical scores or fragments in this opera. I am writing neither for target audience, nor for traditionalists, nor for radical extremists. I am interested in open minded people, enjoying music without any special anticipation. I wanted to create an unpredictable atmosphere, a musical narrative, where love is born from pain, insecurity, loneliness and returns to its origins in the same way. In short, this is one of my visions of the modern opera, which in some way returns to a traditional opera theatre.
I intimately dedicated this work to David Bowie who passed away three years ago. When he left, I began to think about a new opera. It was his «spirit» that helped me to complete the piece, even though I did not use even the smallest of his quotations. I was inspired by his many metamorphoses, despite of which he always remained the same old Bowie. I wanted to include the principle of metamorphosis into the opera in my own way.
Text: Milko Lazar
Here is the code L, which testifies to the power and depth of human emotion – a unique choice of the moments of emotional culture, captured in the today's time and space, which, inspired by Barthes' Fragments of a Lover's Discourse, fuels from the myths, archetypes, philosophical works and the intimate. In the beginning, the writing of libretto was primarily a study of themes and a search for the language of thoughts and emotions that would speak about the depth of a man and his ability to love.
A man who does not think about his own desire, who does not passionately want to fulfil it at every moment of his life and even denies, subdues or renounces it, because he is afraid that the fulfilment of his desire may slip away, is a dead man. And it is in the society of such individuals that we live now. Therefore, it is exactly nowadays, that the awareness of longing is so essential. The desire that we carry within ourselves is greater than us; therefore, we must follow it with all the power of our being, despite of all the risk it may take. We must never give in at the quest for our individuality, which is an essential part of our humanity. It is only thus we will be able to preserve our essence, which is, as we know, invisible to the eyes.
Let the code L bring us back to the sense of purity, beauty and depth.
Text: Eva Kraševec
code L is very much about the aesthetics, in a rather conceptual sense. I primarily perceive the direction of this work primarily as scenic poetry. When I create an opera with a living composer, living librettist and with Nataša - a contemporary visual artist, I see myself as a curator. As someone thinking of how to curate all the energies, as well as our wonderful soloists and chorus into a whole, or rather into some interesting atmospheres, defined by a unique aesthetics. This, too, seems to me to be crucial in this work. The same way as Eva is bestowed with her strong language and Milko with his extremely powerful aesthetics, it is also quite essential to look for the colours, the forms that communicate, that coincide with one another as organically as possible. Perhaps it will sound quite banal, but what I am also concerned with is that the performance should be beautiful. It is about some sort of a search or comprehension of love for the words, for Eva, for Milko, for the music, for Nataša, for all our interpreters, for the conductor Marko, for the costume designer Belinda as well as for all the other colleagues. It is the crucial moment; if only this love energy or philía would come to light.