Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Joa Helgessen goes mad while suspended from hooks

Joa Helgessen as the Mad King
Barihunk Joa Helgessen just performed "Eight Songs for a Mad King - A Man Hanged" at the Halland Opera & Vocal Festival. The piece is based on Peter Maxwell Davies' monodrama based on the words of George III.

The fiendishly difficult piece is a disturbing and poignant portrayal of madness, which requires the singer to vocalize oddly as he bemoans his fate and tries to teach his instrumentalist-birds to sing. Helgessen and his creative team made the task even more difficult by suspending the singer on hooks attached to his skin.

The inclusion of body suspension in the piece is intended to show George in all his humanity and reflect on his vulnerability and the actual treatment that he endured. The performance ends with a showcase of the actual sounds made by a body under immense pressure, as microphones are attached to Helgesson’s body taking up the sounds of his muscles contracting during the suspension. 

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