Such Sweet Compulsion

“Each of the seven works in such sweet compulsion re-invented the diva in a way that highlights key issues that circulate around the power of voice. Mernie Lee Plested’s piece raised the strange diva conundrum: opera encourages women to use their vocal power to depict their own disempowerment. Alvin Erasga Tolentino’s performance used the female operatic voice, disembodied by recording technology, as a kind of aural costume. The work of Sheila James played with the associations between Orientalism and the erotic in opera and the erotics of intertwining voices. [Chant Excellent]…emphasized the visceral aspects of classical musical performance while it examined the marginal status of female artists in art history. Marlene Madison subverted the conventions of film noir in order to look at the femme fatale as a speaking subject. Lori Weidenhammer explored the associations between gender, voicing anger, and the diva.” – “Re-Inventing the Diva” p.17, 1999.

“Such Sweet Compulsion” is a cabaret event, programmed as part of the 5-day festival “Re-Inventing the Diva” co-produced by exhibitions and media art at Western Front and curated by Lori Weidenhammer, Eric Metcalfe, Antonia Hirsch, and Peter Courtemanche.


Part I: “Pythian Procession” – Mernie Lee Plested and Carol Sawyer

Part II: “Swan Diva: Part 1″ – Alvin Erasga Tolentino

Part III: ”Chant Excellent” – Carol Sawyer and Andreas Kahre
Sawyer and Kahre perform three newly discovered works by Brettschneider and Piscator: L’oiseau Lente (song cycle) Op.26, 1912; Voiture (song cycle) Op.72, 1915; Chant Excellent Op.13, 1913.

Part IV: “Sous le Dome Epais” – Sheila James & Yasmin
With piano by Lindsay MacDonald

Part V: ”Swan Diva: Part 2 & 3″ – Alvin Erasga Tolentino

Part VI: “Suicide of Laura C” – Marlene Madison

Part VII:  ”Vivi Tirrano” – Lori Weidenhammer
Voice: Lori Weidenhammer
Keyboards: Lindsay MacDonald