A. is a work about shadows, about things dark and shady, everything rational though tries to suppress, things left unchronicled or evaded.
2001 saw the world premiere of A. – a shadow opera by Cecilie Ore (music) and Paal-Helge Haugen (libretto) during the Ultima festival in Oslo. This opera is now available in a hardback bound special CD with the complete libretto in both Norwegian and English. There are also liner notes, which investigate the opera itself and the way this opera comments on the opera tradition.
The opera opens with blunt vague noises that establish an impalpable, indistinct soundscape. Then after a while we distinguish the muffled whispers of ghost-like voices in their separate languages. And as Paal-Helge Haugen’s text rises up and out of this foggy Babel, we hear that the person A. – the central voice and protagonist – is himself a shadow, an ambiguous form with no clear contours. He is Agamemnon at Aulis, he is Eichmann in Auschwitz, he is Colonel Tibbets in ‘Enola Gay’ on his way to Hiroshima… He is one; he is many. And it is the dark side of history the voices can not stop speaking about: atrocious tales of war, blood, executions, mass murders, looting and mutilation.