Intersections Study Day

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14:00–15:50 Session 4. Digital encounters

Lea Luka Tiziana Sikau, University of Cambridge,

Rehearsing ecosystem: Becoming plastic tree

Sivan Eldar and Cordelia Lynn’s new opera Like Flesh (2022) tells a story of queer ecology: A woman in their sixties falls in love with a female student and, through their kiss, the former transforms into a tree. With the intention to queer opera out, Eldar and Lynn write an opera that delves deeply into the love relationship of a tree and a human. While the mycorrhizal communication manner of trees challenges the student, she entangles herself in the tree’s trunk. The opera explores the friction between more-than-human entanglement and its impediments.

This paper reflects on the mycorrhizal structure of opera’s creation via rehearsal ethnography. I zoom into the workshop sessions and the main rehearsal phase in Lille, by investigating the development of Like Flesh in collaboration with the computer music centre Ircam.

Tracing trajectories of the sound composition, the mise-en-scène, and the rendering of imagery generated from neural networks, Like Flesh demonstrates a case of how eco-themed narrations are materialised within contemporary operatic practice. These frameworks of production are set out to build new worlds of sonic and scenic visuality, whilst cutting into the material world they originate from.

Lea Luka Sikau works at the nexus of experimental music theatre, artistic research, and media incubation. Awarded with the Bavarian Cultural Award and a Fellowship for Harvard University’s Mellon School for Performance and Theater Research, she currently pursues a PhD in Music on Rehearsals of New Opera and Posthumanism at the University of Cambridge. Besides, Lea Luka Sikau has worked with some of the most sought-after visionaries such as Romeo Castellucci, Rimini Protokoll, and Marina Abramović.


The Didone Project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC)
under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme,
Grant agreement No. 788986.