Billing itself as a "new music ensemble" gives Nanos Operetta the freedom to explore performance beyond any preconceptions of genre, style, or thematic convention. To this end, the seven-piece combo, founded in 2001, has forged an uncompromising rep in the avant-garde community for its daring cross-disciplinary collaborations, which marry the narrative and audio-visual possibilities of adventurous music, dance, film, and theatre into singular staged events.
Nanos' latest work, Our Breath Is as Thin as a Hummingbird's Spine, promises a dramatic spectacle of Dada proportions. Picture a sorrowful-comic modern fairy story where a man and a man-sized bird get caught up in the throes of an ill-destined love affair. Co-founder and composer Ali Tabatabai explains that the piece "explores the absurdity and profound nature of love, however it may present itself."
Not your grandma's version of interspecies union down on the farm, Our Breath is less perverted affect than timeless symbolic inquiry: Can a love that defies social norms ever really take flight? What are the moral implications? What is the cost to the soul?
As usual, Tabatabai has enlisted world-class co-conspirators to bring to life his self-described "magic realist" vision: frighteningly powerful Sleepytime Gorilla Museum vocalist Nils Frykdahl, renowned physical-theatre group Inkboat (aka butoh choreographer/dancer Shinichi Iova-Koga and dancer/actor Sten Rudstrøm), and intrepid lighting/stage designers Allen Willner and Mary Lois Hare. Expect the unexpected.