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Opera singers wow Canada with a ‘human piano’ performance
Is your band struggling with its sound? Maybe one of these would help.
Forget about Tom Hanks’s overplayed giant piano scene from Big—Canada is where real novelty instrumentation is thriving today. Case in point: a video of “Le piano vivant,” or “Living Piano,” an interactive public installation engineered by TFO (the French-language public cultural and educational television network of Ontario) and marketing agency Lowe Roche.
Also called “The Living Opera Organ,” the giant instrument is a foot-operated keyboard with twelve keys. But stepping on these keys doesn’t produce the usual tones—instead, a different opera singer is assigned to each pitch, belting it out when the tune calls upon them.
Delighted observers and even some dogs all seem to have a blast on this nifty, crowd-pleasing device, and the singers are admirably stoic as cogs in a larger, if human, machine. The conductor also plays a recognizable aria from the opera Carmen and instructs other participants in creating vocal harmonies.
TFO, which is “the only public television station in Ontario that features opera as a part of their weekly programming” brought the project about in collaboration with the Festival d’Opéra de Québec in order to introduce the not-exceedingly-popular art form to people who might otherwise not experience it. But those kids are bound to be disappointed when they find out that, in the actual show, they’re not a part of the orchestra, and stomping is generally discouraged.
Photo by Marcio Mesquita/Flickr
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'