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A fresh take on opera with ‘cmetq’



cmetq

Riverside Theatre — Monday, Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Christopher Jette's opera gets its Iowa City debut tonight.
Christopher Jette’s opera gets its Iowa City debut tonight.

A brand new opera will receive its Iowa City premiere tonight, Feb. 29.

Written by current University of Iowa Grant Wood Art Colony Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Christopher Jette, cmetq (which refers to “communication etiquette”) is an exploration of the changing understanding of what communication means and how it affects human emotion.

The complex story is told using only one actor — here, Nathan Krueger, baritone, an Assistant Professor of Voice at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (where cmetq had its first audience on Feb. 20). Krueger was also instrumental in developing the production, as was visual artist Alejandro Casazi.

The timeline of the piece is split between two eras: contemporary times, with cell phone technology and texting etiquette, are contrasted against the early years of exploring etiquette surrounding telephones, shortly after their invention.

The opera’s press release calls cmetq “an opera for baritone voice with live and fixed electronics and video projection.” Improvised melodies were translated using software, after which Jette set them to fixed electronics. The opera seeks to explore the human emotions that surface when new technologies are introduced.


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