renowned countertenor anthony roth costanzo has joined forces with fashion publication visionaire on a multimedia installation that brings together music, fashion, live painting, dance, and film. as part of the project, costanzo and an orchestra perform on a stage, while screens stream a series of short films synced to play along with the songs. the team tapped toiletpaper magazine’s maurizio cattelan and pierpaolo ferrari (among 12 acclaimed creatives contributing to the project) to direct opera ‘music videos’ that could be incorporated into the installation and shared online.

glass handel



above the sounds of vivi tiranno by G.F. handel, maurizio cattelan and pierpaolo ferrari have created a quintessentially bizarre sequence of scenes. girls donning hot dog hot rollers and men licking high heels are only a few of the surreal scenarios artfully crafted by the italian duo to both complement and contrast the vibrant operatic tones.  

glass handel



cattelan and ferrari’s contribution is third of nine short films that form part of visionaire and costanzo’s interactive performance, ‘glass handel’. filmmakers james ivory & pix talarico, daniel askill, mark romanek, rupert sanders; tilda swinton & sandro kopp; painter mickalene thomas; multi-disciplinary collective AES+F; and chinese multi- media artist tianzhuo chen have all participated in the project, one that seeks to bring opera to a wider (and importantly online) audience. ‘the first thing I said was, ‘we have to do opera music videos. you’ve got to do something that can be shared online,’ recalls cecilia dean, co-founder of visionaire. ‘that’s the problem with opera. there’s nothing to share online. and, now, everything is consumed on our phones.’

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‘glass handel’ premieres at the barnes foundation in philadelphia on september 22-23, 30, and at the cathedral of saint john the divine in new york on november 26-27, 2018. as well as the music video counterpart, artist george condo will paint on a semi-transparent scrim in real time to the music, while while costanzo and the orchestra perform. meanwhile, ballet stars david hallberg, patricia delgado, and ricky ubeda perform a dance choreographed by justin peck. calvin klein will outfit costanzo, the dancers, orchestra, and people-movers — a device created by performance artist ryan mcnamara that moves audience member’s chair to a different part of the space during the show — in costumes designed by raf simons.

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‘beauty and art, I feel, are really important to creating understanding and empathy,’ costanzo says. ‘with everything that’s happened now in our world, I feel that those are two really important qualities to try and elicit. I wanted to create something that basically could just engage people in the music in different ways.’

glass handel

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