Brian Asawa’s starring role in filmmaker’s “Maps of Emotion”

BrianVenicePhotoHeaderLos Angeles - German filmmaker Lutz Gregor describes his Maps of Emotion 2 – Venezia as an “opera-movie-dance-installation.” Filmed and recorded in 2012, the Cologne-based filmmaker and dance film producer marries three dramatically different projections into one film. Choreographers and dancers Sara Simeoni and Karl Schriener roam Venice in the left and right fames, becoming, per Gregor, “living, breathing organisms pushed by their desires, energies and erotic fantasies.”  These frames are connected by the central projection, character and voice of countertenor Brian Asawa, who sings two classical pieces and a contemporary composition by James Reynolds in a triptych of vignettes filmed at the spectacular Palazzo Merati.

Via email, Gregor says, “Brian should have an apartment with a balcony in Venice and give performances each night! After the (Teatro La) Fenice!” He continues: “I’m so very grateful. I personally appreciated Brian’s openness and passion for an experimental approach to opera in media and through my film…this is not often the case with opera singers of his calibre, importance and reputation.” Gregor added that he hopes “more attention through social media” will bring his unique film to the forefront of the global arts community.

WATCH: Brian Asawa performs “Annabelle Lee” (James Reynolds, Fortuna, 2011) in this excerpt from Lutz Gregor’s film “Maps of Emotion 2 – Venezia” (2012). 

By telephone from Los Angeles, Asawa recalled how his collaboration with Gregor came together: “Lutz is a longtime lover of the countertenor voice, and, I’m so happy to say, my voice and artistry in particular. Introductions were initially made in 2009 through my friend, dancer Karl Schreiner, with whom I’d worked in a Hamburg State Opera production. Karl got in touch with me, mentioning that his filmmaker friend (Gregor) wanted to collaborate. I was intrigued. At the time, I was in Brussels rehearsing and performing as Prince Go-Go in Le Grand Macabre, so we met there, which ended up being great fun (laughs). He actually filmed me dancing to Shannon at my rented flat, as well as warming up and preparing for the (Le Grand Macabre) dress. From that point forward, our friendship was established…he later invited me to do a film with him in Venice in 2012 with the studio taping in Cologne later that year. This became Maps of Emotion 2 – Venezia.”  Asawa continues: “As life is life, Maps of Emotion happened during a difficult period for my voice, but I adore Lutz’s film for its great originality, innovation and the transformation of household chores into something so beautifully watchable, with no small credit to his skills as a filmmaker and the beautiful (dancers) Sara and Karl.”

Maps of Emotion 2 – Venezia premiered on January 10, 2013 at Le Festival Temps d’Images at Tanzhaus NRW in Düsseldorf, Germany. Maps of Emotion 2 – Venezia may be viewed in its entirety here, which features the aforementioned Reynolds aria as well as the following pieces:  Alto Giove (Porpora, Polifermo, 1735); Dido’s Lament (Purcell, Dido & Aeneas, 1685).

WATCH: Brian Asawa tours Palazzo Merati with art historian Rosella Mamoli in an excerpt from Lutz Gregor’s documentary “VERBORGENES VENEDIG” (Hidden Venice), which premiered January 19, 2013 on Arte Television Germany. “Hidden Venice” may be viewed in its entirety here


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