Vidas Perfectas, 2014

Vidas Perfectas was presented as part of the program of performances by Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman at the 2014 Whitney Biennial in NYC, April 17-20, 2014.

Vidas Perfectas is an all-new Spanish-language version of Robert Ashley's ground-breaking “television opera” Perfect Lives (1983). With Ashley's blessing, Alex Waterman directs this all-new production, from a Spanish translation by Javier Sainz de Robles.

In the Vidas Perfectas lounge we discover a place where Spanish and English are mutually understood through the transformative and magical act of singing. Originally set in “The Corn Belt” of the midwest, Vidas Perfectas transports us to the deserts and ranches of the southwest– a vision of (an)other America.

The performances of all seven episodes at the 2014 Whitney Biennial marked the beginning of the filming and recording of the complete opera in full theatrical staging. All episodes were filmed in front of a live audience. Footage shot on-location in Marfa, Texas in February 2014 was be mixed with live camera feeds as part of the live television experience. Between the performances, Alex Waterman and E.S.P. TV used the room as their workspace to rehearse, edit, and prepare footage for live television.

Perfect Lives was originally commissioned for television by The Kitchen (NYC) in 1979 and was completed in 1983, co-produced by The Kitchen and Channel Four in Great Britain. It was aired on Channel Four in 1983 and 1984, and subsequently on German, Austrian and Spanish television. Parts of the seven-episode series have been seen on American cable channels and in Japan and Australia. Perfect Lives’ innovative combination of chanting, storytelling, meditation and ecstatic revelation, challenges the ways in which we perceive the relationship between language and music. It has almost single-handedly changed the way we think about opera, television, and performance.

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