Alternate Visions
Return to Books
The Impetus Behind Alternate Visions
(Chants Libres, 2007)

Alternate Visions, produced by Chants Libres, the lyric creation company, invites the audience to witness an alternate vision of love.This bilingual opera presentation is truly an encounter mediated by cyberspace. Taking the subject matter of computer dating as its focus,Alternate Visions addresses the internet's power to create personae and perfection. In a space where musical styles merge, real and virtual universes collide, robotics and intelligent skin mingle...what happens to human carnal relations?

Valerie and Richard develop a relationship over the Internet in a virtual 3D environment; they decide to break the ice of cyberspace and meet in person at a high-tech karaoke bar, which is in fact the set of Alternate Visions, a reality television show. At the last minute, they both get cold feet and ask their respective best friends to take their places. Why take the risk? Why change anything? Misunderstandings multiply ad infinitum, raising questions around the perception of reality and the culture of identity.


Music: John Oliver
Libretto: Genni Gunn
Stage direction: Pauline Vaillancourt
Augmented Opera
Word from the Composer

"Exploring intimate relationships through humour isn't new territory for Vancouver-based writer and translator Genni Gunn. In fact, she first penned Alternate Visions, a pungent take on love and alienation in a world gone VR - Virtual Reality - some 15 years ago. Perhaps the story of this new opera is fresh and biting because there's no pretence about it being a documentarist's take on the topic -- we're still in the realm of the fantastic."

                                                       --Globe & Mail


"Alternate Visions is . . . entertaining "augmented opera that sports the extra novelty of being in both English and French . . . Amused as we are by the techno-trappings, what makes the show watchable is the familiar spectacle of two people messing up a potentially fulfilling relationship..."

                                                    - Montreal Gazette

Opera Trailer on YouTube
Alternate Visions emerged from my interest in exploring the intimacy and alienation present in our contemporary society.

Our wired connections provide a sense of intimacy we can communicate with everyone globally; we can express ourselves daily in blogs and videos; our private lives can now be lived publicly through television reality shows, through 24-hour views into our spaces in front of our computers. We have become voyeurs, stationary creatures typing our emotions onto keyboards, looking into the cool eyes of digital cameras. Read more . . .

The internet is a place where anyone can tell their story, broadcast their idea, display themselves, reinvent themselves. It is a place where journalism, fact and fiction coexist and the concept of absolute truth is impossible. It is a place where the love of music is front and centre. William Benjamin observed the impact that the recorded medium had on memory and culture some fifty years ago. Now the recording, and techniques once reserved for studio producers, have become the musical instruments of our time . . . Read  more . . .
Editing Services
Genni Gunn