In May and June 2019, the most complete production to date of the opera cycle Licht by Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) has taken place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This production, called Aus Licht was a collaboration between the Royal Conservatoire - The Hague, the Holland Festival and the Dutch National Opera. A Masters programme called Master Aus Licht was developed at the Royal Conservatoire to train a new generation of musicians, including sound projectionists, which will learn to perform in the performance tradition of Stockhausen, the works from theopera Licht.
The aim of the Masters programme was to allow a new generation of students to work on the Aus Licht production with, and learn from, longtime Stockhausen collaborators with experience in previous productions of the Licht opera. More importantly it was an opportunity to document information gathered during the extensive rehearsal period, from all parties involved on the production of the musical aspects of this opera. Since the musicians and sound projectionists were taught the Licht opera cycle by Stockhausen almost from the ground up, we as sound projectionists could witness the entire process, from preparation to performance, from the musical rehearsals where we could learn the music and search for the proper solutions to realise our role, to the final public performances.
The opportunity presented a challenge too, since there has not been much research done on ways of documenting sound projection in great detail. Finding a way to document and structure these knowledge became the research question for the sound projection students. The initial approach was to collect as much information as possible, in order to update the information in the scores which is collected during the premieres and also to add information which is currently not included. For instance, elements that came to light once the pieces have been performed more times at different locations and with different musicians, but also when considering the much changed technology. Because of the enormous scale of the Aus Licht project the scope of the research was limited to three works, but with the aim of emphasising information that is applicable to more works in the opera.
This research took place between September 2017 and July 2019, during the extensive rehearsal periods for Aus Licht as well as the actual performances. From November 2017 to April 2019 rehearsals took place in The Hague, at the studio Licht aan Zee as well as the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. From the beginning of May 2019 the rehearsals continued at the location of the performance, the Gashouder in the Westergasfabriek complex, Amsterdam.
This research has been conducted as a collaborative effort by Arne Bock and Marko Uzunovski, two of the master students involved in the sound projection of several parts of the Aus Licht production.
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