Opera Scotland

Unseal Unseam Unseal / Unseam

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 Micaela Tobin & Sharon Chohi Kim.


Adapted from Shakespeare, Kleist and Pappenheim.



First Performance: Los Angeles 2016.

First Performance in UK: Edinburgh (Lochend Close), 6 August 2016.



Unseal / Unseam is an electroacoustic opera inspired by Béla Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Schoenberg's Erwartung, with an original composition by Micaela Tobin and Sharon Chohi Kim. In its original form Erwartung was actually included in the title, and a complete performance of the monodrama was given to end the performance. For Edinburgh that took a much-abbreviated form on video.



By manipulating the pairing of live improvised music and object performance, the disturbing and terrifying psychological purgatory of Bluebeard and Judith's abusive relationship is unveiled. Trapped, she transmogrifies her trauma through a series of relics and abstracted visions, while the embodiment of her destined future, the Stage Wife, watches on, knitting a web of her own tortured memories.

Through a combination of operatic singing, extended vocal technique, and experimental electronic music, composers Sharon Chohi Kim and Micaela Tobin re-frame the compositional motives of Bela Bartok's opera, Bluebeard's Castle.

Combining the female tragedies of Shakespeare's Othello, Hamlet, Heinrich Von Kleist's Penthesilea, and Schoenberg's monodrama, Erwartung, Unseal Unseam unveils the hidden cycle of abuse. These fused pieces serve as an interdisciplinary examination into the vicious cycle of domestic abuse that one in four women experiences in their lifetime. We aim to reclaim and reshape the  unrealistic female narratives found in traditional opera by exploring the construct that objectifies women as helpless dependents. 

The Cast

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