|| Live shows ||
2045: The year man becomes immortal (2016)
'2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal?', selected as one of the 'Five of the Best Classical Concerts' by The Guardian, was premiered on the 6th of July 2016 at St. James's Church, Piccadilly, featuring soprano Meeta Raval, countertenor Oliver Gerrish, the Aquinas Piano Trio and Helios Voices. A private performance followed on the 9th of July at Cowdray House for a select group of guests. In both occasions the piece was received with rousing standing ovations and unanimous praise. Moving, compelling, absorbing, powerful, mesmerising, haunting, uplifting, extraordinary...these adjectives appear again and again on the numerous audience testimonials gathered after the performances. Rarely a new piece receives such sort of praise. You can read all the audience reactions here.
‘2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal?’ (2016) started as a homage to this concept called Technological Singularity, this new era that the techno-scientific community have predicted to be possible by 2045 in which technology will finally allow for man and machine to merge, enabling us the possibility to prolong life indefinitely, making us immortal effectively.
Through this paradigm of the future I explore the efforts of our technocratic society to overcome death, wondering essentially whether there's a purpose to being mortal, whether there's a purpose to dying. When our days are numbered, life becomes more precious and we cherish more the things we love. The piece wonders whether we should be tampering with nature's cycle of life, where from death there's always new life.
The piece is structured in 5 sections mirroring the five stages of a fruit tree, a metaphor for the cyclic nature of life. The first three sections constitute a first block representing the process from life to death. The last two sections constitute a second block where, after what we understand as death, I wonder about the immortal nature of the human soul. In the timeline of the piece, these two blocks are separated exactly at the Golden Ratio and all the individual pieces that constitute the piece follow the timings of the Fibonacci Sequence.
The piece was premiered at St. James's Church in Piccadilly, London, on the 6th of July 2016 in collaboration with Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival. It was further performed at Buck Hall in Cowdray House on the 9th of July 2016. It received standing ovations on both occasions and widespread acclaim.
Life from Light (2012)
"Life from Light" (2012) is a video-opera that was premiered at Union Chapel in London on the 15th of November of 2012. The piece was conceived inspired by Charles Darwin's famous quote on "the impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity for looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity." Through it, the composer explores what it means to be human on Planet Earth, the miracle of life on this Planet and - as Darwin did in his day - exposes the audience to the question of our ultimate origin. By raising these questions the composer aims to raise awareness about what it means to be human, about our beautiful Planet, the natural world and how humanity's actions are irreversibly affecting these. There is a strong need and desire by many to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all. Whereas many people are working on this direction through direct action, policy making and lobbying, "Life from Light" aims to modestly support these efforts though the power of music.
For this occasion Toni joined forces with old-time collaborators Roberta Howett and Oliver Gerrish who were joined on stage by soprano Susan Jiwey. A backdrop of video-art - created by visual artist Thomas Yeomans - engulfed the stage and the performers.
By invitation of the Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival and funded by the Arts Council England, "Life from Light" was further performed on the 7th and 8th of August 2014 at London’s Kings Place Hall One. Roberta Howett and Oliver Gerrish were joined this time by soprano Meeta Raval, Classical Brit nominee Camilla Kerslake and Cuban jazz trumpeter Yelfris Valdes. They were accompanied by a 8-strong ensemble featuring award-winning disruptive technologist and hacker Adam John Williams, harpist Cristina de Bernardo (HNK Opera and Ballet Theatre), violinist and Erhu player Amy Yuan, cellist David Kadumukasa, guitarist Igor Fejzula, drummer Elias Gargallo, bass guitarist Martin J Stephens and arranger and pianist Geoff Lawson.