SOS (The Song of Songs) (Digital World Premiere)
“One of the most extraordinary events involving Russian contemporary music and theater. A powerful statement about love and loss.” - NEWSru (Russia)
SOS (The Song of Songs) is the film adaption of a staged cantata for 14 singers, two readers, percussion, and a telegraph key. A collaboration between Russian visual and performance artist Vera Martynov and composer Alexey Sysoev, this hybrid performance work featuring soloists of the acclaimed Intrada Vocal Ensemble directed by Ekaterina Antonenko has been re-conceived as a media installation presented on video. New performance footage and audio tracks recorded in Moscow in September 2020 are interwoven with Martynov’s design of lush visual elements themed around memories of childhood, travel, and the confines of quarantine. SOS takes its name from the worldwide standard Morse code signal of distress, and draws from the poetic Old Testament text, Solomon’s Song of Songs.
Digital version of SOS is produced by Mart Foundation with support from documentary platform Nonfiction.film.
Major support for BAC’s production of SOS is provided by Trust for Mutual Understanding.
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Vera Martynov is a Russian visual artist and director. Since 2016, she has served as curator of the New Space of the Theater of Nations in addition to working as an independent artist, collaborating with various theatres, museums, and galleries. From 2012 to 2015, she was the lead stage designer at the Gogol Center and assisted its chief director, Kirill Serebrennikov, in the renovation of the theatre.
She is the co-founder of Dmitry Krymov Laboratory, where she worked as a scenographer, costume designer, and performative artist from 2004 to 2013. Martynov was also a resident at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in 2012 and 2013. She has garnered numerous awards for her work, including the Innovation, State Award in the field of contemporary art (Project of the Year), the Golden Triga of the Prague Quadrennial, Edinburgh International Art Festival award (with the Dmitry Krymov Laboratory), and the Golden Mask Award for Best Set Designer. Martynov taught at Moscow Art Theatre School, the Russian Academy of Theater Arts (RATI/ GITIS), and the British Higher School of Design in Moscow and Higher School of Economics (HSE). She graduated from the Scenography Department of the Russian Academy of Theater Art (RATI/ GITIS) in 2008, as a student of Dmitry Krymov.
Intrada Vocal Ensemble
Intrada Vocal Ensemble (Performer), directed by Ekaterina Antonenko (Music Director), is a contemporary choir, based in Moscow, that has won acclaim for its professionalism and recognizable performing style.
Intrada regularly collaborates with leading European orchestras and musicians, such as Il Giardino Armonico and Giovanni Antonini, Le Poème Harmonique and Vincent Dumestre, The Tallis Scholars and Peter Phillips, Frieder Bernius, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Peter Neumann, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, and others. The ensemble has represented Russia at European music festivals including the Dresden Cultural Forum (2015), The Dresden Music Festival (2017, 2019), Musikfest Erzgebirge (2016), a concert series of Kultur in the legendary Wartburg Castle (2018), International Congress for Choir Conductors in Paris (2016), and Lausitz-Festival (2019). Intrada also premieres works of 20th and 21st centuries, including the Russian premiere of Mass for Double Choir (a cappella, by Frank Martin) and the Moscow premiere of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion. In 2017, the ensemble became the first to perform of the compositions of Klaus Lang, Franck Christoph Yeznikian, Vladimir Rannev, Alexey Sysoev, and Arman Gushchyan along with the Russian premiere of Requiem by Jean Richafort at the international vocal music festival Opera Apriori. In 2014, a joint concert by Intrada and Peter Phillips, dedicated to the memory of Sir John Tavener, took place at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, featuring the second world performance of Tavener’s Requiem Fragments (with solo soprano Julia Lezhneva).
Alexey Sysoev (Composer) is a composer and musician. He graduated from the Moscow College of Improvisational Music and has performed as a jazz pianist and participated in various jazz, electronic, and experimental music projects.
From 2003 through 2008, he continued his musical education at the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and in 2008 he became a postgraduate student and PhD in History of Arts. Sysoev’s music is performed at many Russian and international festivals and events, including the Moscow Forum, the Pythian Games (St. Petersburg), Another Dimension (Moscow), and Europe Through the Eyes of Russians/Russia Through the Eyes of Europeans (Moscow), Territory (Sochi, Kazan, Moscow), World Music Days 2008 (Vilnius), Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival (Kiel), 45' Internationale Ferienkurse Fur Neue Musik (Darmstadt), Schumannfest (Düsseldorf), Klangspuren festival (Schwaz), Transart festival (Bolzano), the Venice Biennale, La Folle Journee (Nantes, Tokyo), Festival Ljubljana, KlaraFestival (Brussels), Culturescapes (Basel), Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2014 (Utrecht), Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival (Groningen), and more. Sysoev’s music has been released by labels including Creative Sources, FancyMusic, Melodia, Tawpot, Spina! Rec, and Moscow Conservatory Records. As an improvising musician, Sysoev collaborates with many international composers and performers. He has created music for theatrical productions of Kirill Serebrennikov, Boris Yukhananov, Philip Grigoryan, Vadim Zakharov, and Gay & Rony Club (Holland). In 2013, he won the Golden Mask National Theatre Award for the best work by a musical theatre composer.
Photos: Irina Polyarnaya