Opera Green (2020)

Collaboration: Kray Chen (Chen Kerui) (artist) + Emily Koh (composer)

Work: film score, stereo audio (5.1)

Duration: 37 minutes

Premiere: December 7 2020 – January 4 2021 | FOST Gallery, Singapore


Opera Green is a video performance part of Kray Chen’s solo exhibition Hot Temple, shown at Fost Gallery from November 7 2020 to January 3 2021.  Check out the video documentation below, as well as the exhibition e-catalogue, Q&A between the artist Kray Chen and the curator Anca Rujoiu (excerpted below).

Anca Rujoiu (curator): Returning to Opera Green and the use of music, in the production stage, Nick performed without sound in the background. However, in the final video, the movement and music come together. Why did you decide to have to leave the sound out during the performance, and what role it plays in the video work?

Kray Chen (artist): Usually the parts of the opera are written together. In this case, as Nick was doing an improvised
performance, the music responds to him instead. I wanted to respect and replicate the operatic/musical form anyway, so I brought Emily Koh onboard. She is a classically trained composer and I found her pieces very engaging when I first came across them on YouTube. She had also employed many local languages and sounds in pieces, such as Char Kway, which is a choral piece inspired by the sounds of frying carrot cake .In my conversations with Emily, we spoke at length about how we intend to appropriate the music from Teochew opera without “dishonouring” it, or how we could react to a traditional form in a contemporary fashion. So, the resulting piece is one that sits between a standalone composition and an accompanying track. Its form directly responds to this straddling between performance and film, swinging between Chinese music and Western classical scales.