If concertgoers coughing, sneezing and texting get on your nerves, then a new opera to be staged by the Barbican could be the thing to help release all that stress. Lost in Thought is billed as the world’s first ‘mindfulness opera’ and is inspired by the art of meditation.
‘Over the course of four hours [audiences will be taken] on an inner journey of mindfulness with periods of meditation, rest, communal eating and a gentle yoga session,’ says a Barbican spokesperson of the opera, which will be performed at the start of the 2015-16 season at its LSO St Luke’s venue in London.
Contemporary pianist and composer Rolf Hind has written the music, and the production, a collaboration between the Barbican and the Mahogany Opera Group, will be directed by Frederic Wake-Walker. On paper it’s a small cast, featuring mezzo-soprano Lore Lixenberg and seven musicians, but audience members will also be part of the ‘performance’, able to eat the vegan food on offer, meditate, adopt yoga positions and even have a lie-down.
Hind has form when it comes to mindfulness – he’s introduced the practice to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has previously written music responding to his discovery of meditation. Sit, Stand, Walk, a clarinet concerto, was premiered at the Spitalfields Festival in 2011.
‘The practice of meditating has brought an enormous amount to my life and music-making,’ Hind told The Guardian in 2011, ‘a sense of clarity and control, less neurosis about ambitions and “career”, greater efficiency, awareness and body sense as a pianist. As a composer, I’m more in touch with the sources of my own creativity.’