lolita - WWW Ircam

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lolita - WWW Ircam
LOLITA
Opéra imaginaire d’après la roman de Vladimir Nabokov
composé et arrangé par Joshua Fineberg
1. Argument
Spectacle multi-média pour danseurs/acteurs, voix, ensemble, électronique et vidéo
Mon travail a longtemps porté sur la question des sources (modèles) de la réalité et de leurs
représentations (réalisations) dans les œuvres artistiques. C'est un thème central dans toute la musique
spectrale, de la synthèse orchestrale d'un trombone dans Partiels de Grisey à l'analyse/re-synthèse en
temps réel de l'ensemble instrumental dans ma propre pièce Empreintes. Ce rapport (du modèle à la
représentation) est presque toujours destructif. Le modèle semble pauvre une fois que l'artifice l'a révélé
dans une plus riche apparence. Un « original » qui devrait résonner dans sa « légitimité » est accablé par
la force de sa transcription. Pour moi, c'est là la vraie histoire racontée par Lolita de Nabokov.
L’œuvre de Nabokov a suscité beaucoup de polémiques et a été adaptée en diverses réalisations
dramatiques (les plus notables étant deux grands films); cependant ces adaptations se sont toutes
concentrées sur ce qui est peut-être l’aspect le moins intéressant du roman – son intrigue. Pour moi, l'idée
vraiment essentielle de l’œuvre est la nature en soi destructive de la transcription artistique d'un
personnage, d'un événement, d'une scène ou d'un son. Transposant une adolescente réelle en une vision
sublimée Humbert la tue de fait et place un double à sa place (ironiquement il la détruit assez
complètement dans la réalité). Le vrai personnage féminin est vu seulement de temps en temps et à
travers des aperçus furtifs (comme ses yeux rougeoyants, brillant en de rares occasions derrière un
masque ornemental). Le moulage des « vrais » personnages selon le désir du narrateur, les prive par
essence d’une vraie voix ; cependant Humbert Humbert leur offre en échange la voix exaltée de ses
délires personnels (« faites confiance à un meurtrier pour avoir un style de prose sophistiqué »).
Cet aspect du roman est tout à fait explicite quand Humbert parle des "aurochs et des anges, le miracle du
pigment durable" comme la seule immortalité que Lolita et lui pourraient partager. En fait sa Lolita n’existe
que dans son écriture ou dans sa folie (rappelez-vous que Humbert ne narre pas selon une voix
omnisciente, mais en écrivant un roman/biographie depuis sa cellule de prison). La réalité n'est pas très
importante et certainement pas très précise dans le roman, elle émerge ponctuellement et n'est jamais
claire. Les personnages et les automobiles apparaissent dans des lieux étranges pour disparaître ensuite
sans laisser de trace. Le lecteur n’est jamais certain de ce qui est réel et de ce qui relève du délire. C'est
de plus en plus évident au fur et à mesure que le roman progresse et de ce point de vue on peut voir ce
dernier comme la description d’une descente dans la folie (Nabokov étudia intensément les manuels de
psychopathologie avant d’écrire Lolita). Cependant, la folie et la création ne sont pas différentes dans ce
contexte et la descente dans la folie peut également être envisagée comme formant un chiasme avec
l’élévation d'une réalité banale au niveau d’un discours artistique plus élevé. Certainement, Humbert
aimerait voir les choses de cette façon.
L’œuvre sera organisée autour d'une multiple mise-en-scène, l'éclairage ou une multiplicité d’écran vidéo
permettant à l’une ou l'autre de dominer (souvent en cachant complètement les scènes parallèles). Dans
un sens, cette œuvre est semblable à un opéra, mais qui se produirait essentiellement dans l'esprit du
narrateur. Toutes les voix entendues par le public émergent des haut-parleurs et résultent de
transformations électroniques de la voix du narrateur: elles sont simplement des manifestations de sa voix.
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De ce fait, tous les personnages sur scène sont rendus muets (leurs rôles étant joués par des danseurs).
La seule exception est le narrateur lui-même. C'est son écriture des mots de son roman/biographie qui
provoquent la métamorphose des actions venues de sa mémoire ou imaginaire ou délusion en œuvre d’art
lyrique qu’il essaye de crée. L'effet global de cette transformation est l’effacement du passé qui aura pu se
produire et de créer l’œuvre faite pour durer.
Toutes les « voix chantées » sont des altérations électroniques de la voix parlée du narrateur. Pour
transformer sa voix originale en un chant exalté, elle est séparée par l’ordinateur en deux composantes :
une source — le son brut, non coloré, tel qu’il serait directement produit par la glotte et capté par
l’ordinateur — et un filtre modélisant l’appareil articulatoire du narrateur (cavités vocales : pharynx, sinus,
etc.). Ceci permet de déformer la voix originale pour la doter de nouveaux contours, tout en conservant
une grande partie de sa couleur initiale. La voix peut alors « chanter » à travers un corps hybride,
imaginaire, calculé par l’ordinateur. Nous avons enregistré un grand nombre d’échantillons d’une même
phrase chantée par des chanteurs de différents ages et sexes en vue de créer les matériaux nécessaires à
la constitution de ces hybrides. Avec ces « filtres », notre Humbert donne voix aux corps qu’il imagine, bien
qu’il ne puisse jamais complètement éliminer le son solipsistique de sa propre voix. Ces voix ne sont pas
censées sonner comme de « vraies » voix de chanteurs. Cependant, elle ne sont pas non plus de simples
sons électroniques. Elles sont l’irréalité et l’étrangeté du fantasme.
La technologie utilisée pour la réalisation de la partie musicale de l’œuvre a été développée à l’Ircam en
plusieurs phases depuis 2003.
L’œuvre est articulée en trois pièces principales :
i.
ii.
iii.
Humbert (la création de notre narrateur Humbert Humbert, qui, à son tour, créera tout le reste)
Lolita (la création par Humbert de sa nymphette imaginaire, obtenue par la destruction d’une
enfant réelle)
Durable Pigments (l’incapacité d’Humbert à contrôler l’objet/personnage qu’il a créé,
conduisant à la perte de toute chose sauf de l’ «illusion» d’un récit fictionnel)
iv.
[à traduire : Between parts 1 & 2 an optional filmic interlude may be created in a form that parodies historic
Newsreels and juxtaposes images of the arctic with those of an mental assylum. If a film is not used, parts
1 & 2 should be performed withoit any intervening silence. Concert versions should always be played this
way. A substantial silence should be allowed between parts 2 and 3 in both concert and staged versions.]
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LOLITA
An imaginary opera based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov
composed and arranged by Joshua Fineberg
1. Premise
a multi-media spectacle for dancers/actors, voice, ensemble, electronics and film
My work has for a long time been centered on the issue of sources (models) from reality and their
representations (realizations) in artistic works. This is a central theme in all spectral music from the
orchestral synthesis of a trombone in Grisey’s Partiel to the real-time analysis/re-synthesis of the
instrumental ensemble in my own piece Empreintes. This relationship (of model to representation) is nearly
always destructive. The model seems poor once artifice has shown it in a richer guise. An ‘original’ which
ought to resonate in its ’legitimacy’ is overwhelmed by the strength of its transcription. For me, this is the
real story of Nabokov’s Lolita.
The work by Nabokov has been surrounded by much controversy and has been translated into various
dramatic realizations (most notably two major motion pictures); however these adaptations have all
focused on what is perhaps the least interesting aspect of the novel – its plot. For me the really essential
idea of the work is the inherently destructive nature of the artistic transcription of a character, event, scene
or sound. By translating an actual adolescent girl into Humbert’s artistic vision of that girl, he has in effect
killed her and placed a doppelganger in her stead (ironically he has in ‘reality’ also fairly completely
destroyed her). The real girl is only seen occasionally and through furtive glimpses (like glowing eyes
shining out on rare occasions from behind an ornamental mask). Molding the ‘real’ characters to suit the
narrators desire, in essence deprives them of any real voice, yet in exchange Humbert Humbert offers
them the exalted voice of his personal delusions (“trust a murderer to have a fancy prose style”).
This point is made explicitly when Humbert speaks of “aurochs and angels, the miracle of durable pigment”
as the only immortality he and Lolita might share. In fact only in his writing or his madness does his Lolita
even exist (remember that Humbert is not telling the story in an omniscient voice, but writing a
novel/memoir from his prison cell). Reality is not very important and certainly not very precise in the novel,
it pops up only punctually and is never clear. Characters and automobiles appear in odd places, only to
disappear again without a trace. We are never sure what is real and what is delusion. This is increasingly
clear as the novel progresses and from that point of view one can see the novel as a descent into madness
(Nabokov intensely studied abnormal psychology textbooks prior to writing Lolita). However, madness and
creation have no significant difference in this context and the descent into madness can also be viewed as
forming a chiasma with the lifting of a banal reality onto a higher artistic plane. Certainly Humbert would
like to see it that way.
The work is organized around a multi-layer staging with lighting or multiple video screens permitting one or
another to dominate (and often completely hiding the parallel scenes). In a sense the work is like an opera,
but one which occurs completely within the mind of the narrator. All the voices heard by the audience
emmerge from off-stage or from speakers and are the result of electronic transformations of the narrators
voice: they are simply manifestations of that narrator’s voice. Thereby all the on-stage characters are
rendered mute (their roles taken by dancers). The only exception is the narrator himself. It is his writing of
the words of his novel/memoir that causes the actions of his memory or imagination or delusion stage to
metamorphose into the lyrical work of art he is constantly trying to create; the overall effect of this
transformation is to efface the past that might have occurred and create the work that will is intended to
endure.
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All these ‘sung’ voices are the result of computer transformations of the narrator’s spoken voice. To
transform the narrator’s ‘real’ voice into this exalted song, a specially developed computer program
separates his speech into two components: A source -- the sound as if the computer could directly capture
the uncolored vocalizations made by the narrator’s glottis -- and a filter that reproduces the effect of his
body (vocal cavity and sinuses, etc.). This allows the narrator’s actual voice to be twisted and pulled into
various new lines while retaining much of its original color. It can then be ‘sung’ through a hybrid, imaginary
body calculated by the computer that contains some parts of the narrator himself and some parts from
anything else he might imagine. We recorded many of the same phrases sung by singers of different
genders and ages to create material for these hybrids. With these ‘filters’ from other bodies our Humbert
tries to sing through the bodies he imagines, though he can never completely eliminate the solipsistic
sound of his own voice. These voices are not intended to sound like the voices of « real » singers.
However, they should not sound like electronic transformations either. They are meant to evoke the
unreality and strangeness of a fantasy, the sound of voices in our heads.
The technology involved in creating the music for this work was developed over three periods of research
and development at IRCAM beginning in 2003
The piece is articulated into three parts:
I. Humbert
(the creation of our narrator Humbert Humbert who, in turn, will create everything else)
II. Lolita
(Humbert’s creation of his imaginary nymphet, created by destroying a real child)
III. Durable Pigments
(Humbert’s inability to control the object/character he has created, which leads to the loss of everything but
the “illusion” of a fictional narrative)
Between parts 1 & 2 an optional filmic interlude may be created in a form that parodies historic Newsreels
and juxtaposes images of the arctic with those of a mental asylum. If a film is not used parts 1 & 2 should
be performed without any intervening silence. Concert versions should always be played this way. A
substantial silence should be allowed between parts 2 and 3 in both concert and staged versions.
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2.
The piece exists in three versions.
Common to ALL versions :
All versions require an actor who performs the narration live. The actor’s voice is of critical importance to
the work. All of the sung voices that emerge during the work are based upon the actor’s voice and can be
recreated for any actor, though sufficient time must be allowed. Ideally this actor must speak very fluent
English, though a slight European accent is preferable to a purely native voice.
The actor’s voice must be captured in real time by a microphone that is used for the live processing and
amplification. The amplification of the narrator should be done through one or more speakers placed near
the actor’s position and should not be played through the surround system used for the rest of the musical
sounds. A DPA headset microphone is recommended. The effect must be to allow his voice to come
through as naturally and seemingly un-amplified as possible, while still being heard. Ideally he should be
able to whisper in the ears of each person in the audience. The activation /deactivation of the narrator’s
amplification must be controllable by the computer through a midi-controllable fader. The narrator
performs with a video screen or a personal computer in front of him for cuing purposes.
An electronic apparatus requiring two Macintosh computers is used in all versions to playback both prerecorded electronic sounds including the ‘sung voices’, to spatialize or playback instrumental sounds
(depending on the version), and to perform live effects based on the narrator’s voice. In all versions, a MIDI
keyboard is used by an onstage performer to control the timing of musical and technical events. The
performer either follows the condutor or the narrator (depending on the version) and allows the pacing of
the work to be customized to different ‘readings.’
In all versions the output of the electronics is diffused in a sound system that surrounds the public. This
system must have at least four full-range speakers (Front L-R, Rear L-R) but the piece can be configured
for 6 or 8 speakers depending on the hall.
Instrumental Nomenclature for the Concert and Live Music Versions:
Flute 1 (also Piccolo)
Flute 2 (also Piccolo and Alto)
Flute 3 (also Alto and Bass)
Clarinet in B-flat (also Bass Clarinet)
Piano and electronic keyboard (one player)**
2 Violins
Viola
Cello
Double Bass
Narrator **
Electronics**
**these players are used in the triggered playback version
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Concert version:
In the concert version, the full live ensemble and narrator will be used, but no or minimal staging will be
present. Even in this version it is important to place the narrator apart from the ensemble and attempt to
create an image of the narrator’s voice as creating the sound world of both the ensemble and the
electronics. The amplification and spacialization of the ensemble, which is required in the live music stage
version is optional in the concert version and should be used in drier halls or when the sound of the
individual instruments is too localized and concrete to create the ‘imaginary’ sonic image required by the
score.
In concert versions, if the complete work cannot be played, it is permissible to play part 1 alone, parts 1 &
2 alone, or part 3 alone. Part 2 may not be played without part 1.
Staged versions:
It is critical in any staged version to create the sense that the audience is in a sense inside the narrator’s
head, experiencing his subjectivity. The things we see and hear are not objective ‘real’ things, they are the
deluded, subjective perceptions of this very seductive monster whose mind we are briefly inhabiting. The
work should be staged using dancers and video to create the ‘fictional ‘ world being created by the
narrator’s words. Though realizations may be more or less concrete, they must not be centered on any sort
of explicit ‘telling’ of concrete events. They must focus on the multiplicity of possible meanings and the
fugitive nature of textual evocations.
Live Music version: When possible, the musicians should be integrated into the staging so that the
instrumental sounds are equally part of the fictional evocations. All instruments are amplified and
spatialized in the surround system described above so as to render their presence somewhat less ‘fixed’.
Triggered Playback version: In this version there is a single electronic keyboard player who triggers mutitrack recordings of the ensemble which are then spatialized in the same manner as the live instruments. In
this version it is preferable to have some indication in the staging of these ‘imaginary’ performers.
3. Notes about the score
The text must always be performed in English. It is possible to display surtitles or to distribute translations
of the text excerpts in other languages as long as the official translations are used and permission is
obtained from the various publishers. English sur-titles may be used and copies of the text may be
distributed at performances.
The Narrator must always deliver his text with a natural voice.
Narrator Cues in brackets [] are spoken to be precessed by the computer, but will not be heard directly by
the public, only after transformation.
Cueing : In the score there are often arrows between the narrator’s part and the metrically notated
keyboard part. There are two sorts of arrows:
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1) Arrows leading from the keyboard part to the narrator’s, which signify that the performace of the
keyboard note will cue the narrator to begin the indicated text. The narrator will continue from that
cue point in a metrically free natural reading.
2) Arrows leading from the narrator’s part to the keyboard part, which signify places where the
keyboard player and/or the conductor must adapt their tempi or the length of fermatas so that they
reach the indicated moment at the appropriate point in the narrator’s text. As above, the narrator
should always speak with a metrically free natural reading.
Electronics:
1) When text is marked in the electronics part it indicates lines which will be ‘sung’ by the narrator’s
transformed voices and played back in the surrounding speakers. The triggers for these sounds
either come from keyboard notes or are marked auto-trigger a specific amount of time after a
keyboard note. The exact pitch and rhythm of these lines are not given since they will change
slightly with different narrators.
2) When the name of a sound-file is given in the score this refers to sounds that are diffused all
around the public. The duration of these sounds are given and continuation lines indicate the total
duration for each sound-file.
3) Some pitches are given in the electronic part to indicate lines that are synthesized by the computer
to interact with the instrumental part, these sounds are either the vaguely ‘flute-like’ filter sounds or
vaguely vocal, sounds and the type of sound is indicated as is the duration.
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