The opera is written for the acclaimed countertenor Morten Grove Frandsen, who amazes with the embodiment of a myriad of outsiders in a thoroughly dramatic universe, that takes the audience into the darkest corners of cyberspace, where misogynists, self-harmers, racists, and other marginalized existences have found an absurd community. With his extraordinary voice, Frandsen interprets the life of the girl with ‘The Fucking Ugly Face’, who cuts herself to forget her pain or the shameful boy ‘The Lamb’ who dreams of being slaughtered. The English text is based on posts from young people on social media, and it is staged as an interactive echo chamber, where the audience is part of the setting and surrounded by loudspeakers and selfie lights.
We live in a time where loneliness and dissatisfaction among young people is becoming more and more widespread. Although the social media can make the world smaller and bring us closer together, they can equally create distance and social exclusion. LOL is focusing on this complexity without giving a simple answer to the vicious spiral of loneliness and the pain of life.
LOL premiered in the summer of 2023 to rave reviews and played to full houses on tour around Denmark, where it was met by a huge interest from young people in the audience, who felt that the performance met them at eye level.
LOL is produced by the groundbreaking company OPE-N in Copenhagen, which for the past 25 year has presented innovative opera formats in Denmark and across Europe. Our formats combine the expressive possibilities of opera with physical theatre. The results of this are innovative performances that are accessible to a wide audience and at the same time brings a significant renewal to the operatic genre. Our international strategy is to reach as far beyond the conventional framework of opera as possible and be part of a vibrant international field.
LOL is a universal and global portrait of loneliness with a worldwide relevance. The objective of the piece is to address a young and international audience, with a direct and unpretentious approach, which is unusual for the opera genre.
to the operatic genre. Our international strategy is to reach as far beyond the conventional framework of opera as possible and be part of a vibrant international field. We wish to connect with buyers with an outreach program consisting of a ground-breaking selection of new interdisciplinary works, such as Borealis Festival, Reykjavik Art Festival and Baltic Circle in the Nordic region and Munich Biennale, O. Festival Rotterdam, Factory International or Prototype in New York.
LOL is the first performance in our trilogy of youth loneliness. LOL is set in a flexible installation, that can be reused in all three performances of the trilogy. The installation is based on collapsible boxes that can both be stored and transported in limited space. The flexibility also allows many different forms of partnerships and venues, which give the performances longer playing periods. LOL and the coming performances in the trilogy only last 45-50 minutes, which both gives the opportunity to program several performances on the same day and opens opportunities to enter into longer cooperation agreements with international partners. The core of the artistic team behind the trilogy continues their collaborations throughout all three performances, creating a sustainable working community that reflects our overall vision of how to establish fruitful processes that can pave the way for transgressive new works.
LOL speaks to everyone about loneliness. As a company producing new opera, we are very concerned about reaching out to young people or other new audiences, who normally wouldn’t go to the opera’ LOL has a direct and ‘in your face’ way of communicating, and it meets everyone in eyelevel.
The libretto of LOL is put together by all sorts of posts on social media. The posts have not been censured, so they include swearing and discrimination. The performance also uses strobe lighting very briefly.
In all our initiatives we advocate and support the principle of equality for everyone involved. These egalitarian ideals are how fee levels will be established and will underline the means of collaborative working, where all personnel involved will be an integral part of an artistic society, where we all contribute and look after each other. LOL has been developed in an open, trusting, safe and collective environment, where all artists are supported and cared for.
(INSTRUKTØR OG KONCEPT)
MORTEN GROVE FRANDSEN
JOSEFINE ELSE LARSEN
This work combines an excellent interdisciplinary solo-opera with the unfortunately urgent topic: Young people's experience of loneliness connected to online identities. The work exposes the gap between a happy male online persona and the very lonely person in real life. The music is composed by Matilde Böcher and Asger Kudahl. Mathilde Böcher also created the musical landscape for SAPPHO - an operatribute to queerness and the essence of love. She is turning into a composer giving a musical voice to a younger generation. Director Louise Beck is one of the interdisciplinary frontrunners in Denmark.