As the pandemic recedes—or perhaps becomes normalised—it is becoming hard to recall the strangeness of those lockdown months, and the mix of politeness and fear that kept everyone apart, masked and confused. Last month, the Traction partners met in Dublin for the first time since February 2020. We have spent two years talking through computer screens, with each other and with the people we invited to take part in our opera co-creation projects. I took what chances I had to visit the projects in Dublin, Portugal and Barcelona, but my time with them has been a fraction of what I expected. Everything changed, including the première of the Liceu community opera, La Gata Perduda, which will take place in October this year, rather than November 2021 as originally planned.
Because Traction is a research that delay presents some challenges. Our biggest project is now three months before to the end of our time, when reports have to be submitted to the European Union. Sustaining people’s enthusiasm over an additional 11 months was also going to be a challenge, so I suggested a performance in the spring, a showcase or work in progress. My hope was that it would be a moment of celebration and a chance to see what’s been done so far. It’s also a great opportunity to learn from our work and test the technology before the première.
That suggestion has become Cabaret de la Gata, a community opera showcase that will be presented in the Foyer Room at the Liceu theatre this Saturday lunchtime. Directed by Ricard Soler, who is also directing the main production, it features a mix of live performance, video and conversations by the professional and non-professional artists who’ve been working so passionately on this project for more than two years already. Most excitingly, for Traction at least, will be the live connection with our opera projects in Dublin and Leiria, so that the three communities will meet and perform together for the first time. That will use the Co-Creation Stage, a tool developed by Traction for live performance from remote locations. Today, we have a technical rehearsal to iron out any problems.
And you are invited to join us via a live stream of Cabaret de la Gata at 13.00 CET on Saturday 19 March.
PS Here’s a glimpse of the first public performance of part of the opera, last November.