Film-Gate to Present Selections from Opera

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We’ve been invited to perform a portion of my opera MelanchoLalaland™ at South Florida’s only interactive and immersive storytelling festival – Filmgate 2015 (February 1-8, 2015).  If you would like to experience our first efforts at realizing our transmedia opera, as well as a program of local dance peformances/screenings, and interactive demonstrations/seminars you can purchase tickets on Filmgate’s website  –

For presentation of scenes from MelanchoLalaland™:

  • Date: Tuesday, February 3
  • Location: Miami Light Box, 404 NW 26th St., Miami
  • Times:  7pm cocktail
  • 7:30pm – 9pm performance/screenings
  • free with FilmGate passes
  • $5 for students in advance, student ids will be checked
  • $12 in advance, IFCM members, Miami Light Box members
  • $15 at the door

Filmgate Interactive is an annual fusion event of leading international creators, thinkers, and practitioners from across the fields of film, tv, interactive, online, mobile, gaming, publishing and live events. Filmgate interactive presents the latest ideas and innovations of modern storytelling, audience engagement, and business practices. MelanchoLalaland™ is a transmedia opera composed and directed by Joey Bargsten, in collaboration with librettist/producer/lead choreographer Thea Zimmer. The project is made possible by the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters Advisory Board (FAU), the Bailyn Foundation, and the Avid Corporation. Most recently Bargsten received an Individual Artists Fellowship from the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs in the Interdisciplinary Art category.

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And just in case you missed our latest teaser/trailer, here it is:


Casting Call and Extras VideoShoot Nov. 7

Shiny Robots Dancing! Whoa!Are you an undiscovered musical or theatrical talent (or know someone who is)? There will be a casting call and extras video shoot for the film portion of MELANCHOLALALAND™, the multimedia opera by Joey Bargsten and Thea Zimmer, funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It will be held on Friday, November 7 from 10am to 2pm at O Cinema, 90 SW 29th St., Miami (305.571.9970). We’re looking for operatic or musically trained vocalists (mezzo, tenor, baritone), and for improvisatory/modern/jazz dancers. Extras (non-vocalists) will be interviewed as members corporate focus group, and will be videoed holding a sign as part of a protest rally. This poster  (Casting Call) can be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

Celebrated Mezzo Adds Multimedia Opera to Her Résumé

Kathy_in_M-Land(view on Knight Arts blog)

I’ve just completed recording Katharine Goeldner singing the soundtrack for my film-Intermezzo Casual_Sex_Fridays . Katharine has established an international reputation as one of today’s finest mezzo-sopranos. She has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Savonlinna Festival, Welsh National Opera, Minnesota Opera, and with the opera houses of Madrid, Salzburg, Oviedo, Toulouse, Lyon, Paris, Dallas, Antwerp, Bilbao, Seville and Dresden. Upcoming performances include Herodias in Salome with Virginia Opera, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Oxford (UK) Philomusica, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. Katharine studied at The University of Iowa, where I taught her Freshman Music Theory class—a friendship which led to her collaboration with me on MelanchoLalaLand™. On the process of recording the Intermezzo, she says,

“This collaboration came about through the randomness of FaceBook, where I was able to re-connect with my Freshman theory professor. It’s been good to work together again – or actually, I think this is the first time I’ve performed one of (his) pieces. . .  I have worked with living composers before and it’s interesting to learn each others languages – I have to learn the musical language of the particular composer and he or she has to become familiar with the individual characteristics of my voice. It’s exciting to be part of the creative process.”

My Intermezzo will be presented as a short film between the two acts of the (live) multimedia opera. With a stirring libretto by MelanchoLalaland™’s producer, Thea Zimmer, the piece is told through the internal monologue of a survivor of an office shooting. To evade the shooter, she hides in a cramped supply closet and tries to piece together the events of the shooting and the killer’s identity. Katharine’s participation in MelanchoLaland™ was made possible in part through the support of the John M. and James L. Knight Foundation and by the Dorothy H. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters Advisory Board of Florida Atlantic University.

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And, in other newsy news, I’m starting to publish my meme™ (media experi mental ensemble™) soundtracks on sound cloud. Check them out, and remix them if you have the strength of your ideas as your guide!

MelanchoLalaland™—Video Update

So, the next step in my little multimedia opera project: turn those 3D placeholder assets into storyboards and video, to kinda show what the piece is about. And yes, the live opera could look like this, given a few (or several, or many) thousands more. Hatchfund, anyone? (the vetted form of Kickstarter, if you’re wondering . . . )

To be presented publicly at the FAU Faculty Accomplishment Festival on Friday (Aug. 29) in Boca.

MelanchoLalaland™ Update

MelanchoLalaland™, our multimedia opera, is in full swing. Here’s a few of the lighting/staging sketches we prepared to visually explain the relationship of live performer to screen for the Miami venues we are currently pursuing.

The corporate-dystopia environment was built in Maya and Unity, and doubles as a set for the central film-within-the-opera, Casual Sex Fridays™.


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(Slideshow also available on Flickr)

In other news, we’ve met our Knight Foundation Challenge, with the generous matching of FAU’s College Advisory Board Fund, an award from the Bailyn Fund for Faculty Research from School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, and a software contribution by Avid Inc., creators of Sibelius music notation software. Plus, I’ve been awarded a Scholarship and Creative Activities Fellowship for Spring 2015, for a two-course teaching release, so I’ll have more time to devote to the production.

Additionally, librettist Thea Zimmer and I have just returned from exploring possible venues in New York City and Brooklyn for a possible production in 2016 or 2017. We met with folks at Three-Legged Dog in lower Manhattan, and Lyceum, Gowanus, Firehouse, and Irondale Ensemble in Brooklyn. We also attended a performance of the contemporary multimedia opera Maria Celeste,

Next step: pre-production, video, orchestration, etc, all summer!

Melancholalaland™, a multimedia opera by Joey Bargsten with libretto by Thea Zimmer will be presented in Miami in 2015. It is being made possible in part through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and will include local singers and dancers in a live mix with video, animation, and digital music. Melancholalaland™ will bring elements of opera to a broader audience, exposing the South Florida arts community to newer forms of interactive media.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge funds ideas that help bring South Florida together through the arts. For more, visit

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Do you want to kick around in the 3D environment? Go here (and, ok , unzip, and yes, this is only for the Mac right now), and press your arrow keys!

School’s Out—End of Year Wrap-Up, Academic Version

Ok, here are a couple of reels of the fine work of my many students at FAU!

Highlights from my first year back from my year of graduate study include:

And yes, I would be remiss to not mention all the sound materials were also created by my ever questioning (and sometimes totally baffled) students. My only contribution would be in the mixing of all these tracks.

Enjoy your summer!