Opera Occulta is an experimental collaboration between The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, and singers and musicians of The Royal Conservatoire, The Hague.
Responding to the reality of quarantine, deprived of live performance, the virtual ‘company' looked closer to wherever 'home' was, whether in exile or in confinement. Created across international boundaries, some singers and collaborating musicians were physically unable to meet, so sound and voice were periodically mixed in entirely separate locations. Recordings were made over summer on iPhones, laptops and synths, occasionally with conventional accompaniment recorded on 4-Tracks, captured in bedrooms. Singers mixed harpsichord with electric guitar, bassoon, recorder, viola, melodica and voice.
Taking opera and throwing it in the blender, some singers became their own ensembles! Others are no stranger to solo performance, and some already use synths, electronics, and sound to create a distinctive between-the-worlds landscape. Some learned entirely new ways of working collaboratively and introduced unfamiliar instruments to great effect.
Subject matter ranges from Love Potions, Human Sacrifice, Wizards, Demons, Witch Queens, Shapeshifting, Divination and Mediumship to the Spirit World itself. Brought to you by accomplished singers and musicians who are not afraid to experiment and challenge, these recordings transcend convention to bravely personify the magical characters they are portraying. Depictions range from the laments of unhinged witches to the raptures of heroines caught within the embrace of priapic demons, via amorous tinctures and the rantings of psychotic wizards. These are not studio recordings! While some of the tracks have a live / bootleg feel, all of them are extraordinary in their own way. The result is a unique and fresh take on some operatic staples, with a new, 21st Century, bravura twist.