‘Eco Opera’ amplifies nature from Argyll and Australia

Episode two of the Eco Opera will be recorded simultaneously in the Royal Botanic Garden Benmore, pictured, and the rural town of Girgarre in northern Victoria, Australia. Photograph: Hazel Palmer ©

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The sounds of nature captured by ‘sonic tubes’ in Argyll and Australia will be blended into an ‘eco opera’ to be broadcast online this summer.

‘Eco Opera is a multi-dimensional love song to our planet, blending diverse recordings into a resonating stream of environmental music and vision,’ explained the organisers.

This project, supported by the Australian Government and Creative Scotland, is presented by the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and producers Scissor Kick.

‘Few of us listen attentively to the sounds of nature that endlessly flood our senses. Eco Opera will open your ears, using innovative techniques to amplify normally inaudible noises.

‘A collaboration between composers, sound artists and filmmakers, Eco Opera sees sonic tubes placed at locations in Australia and the UK to collect and filter sounds from rural environments and botanic gardens. These recordings are synchronised with location video to create evocative sound art in which audio and image coalesce.’

‘Few of us listen attentively to the sounds of nature that endlessly flood our senses,’ said organisers. ‘Eco Opera will open your ears, using innovative techniques to amplify normally inaudible noises. Photograph: Graeme Leak ©

Episode one of the series will be recorded simultaneously at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia, and in the village of Balfron, Stirlingshire. Episode two  will be recorded simultaneously in the Royal Botanic Garden Benmore and the rural town of Girgarre in northern Victoria, Australia.

Episode one will premiere online on the project website, eco-opera.tv, from Monday June 13, and episode two will join the first part of Eco Opera from Friday July 1.

Sound designer Graeme Leake, an Australian music maker living in Scotland, said: ‘To make instruments, put them outside, mic them up and record the beautiful avant-garde music that the animals ‘play’ has been an extraordinary experience. Another is to work with a brilliant team who simultaneously record on opposite sides of the planet to make these international episodes.

‘Making instruments for wildlife, placing them outside, hooking them up with microphones and listening as they are ‘played’ by the animals has revealed a joyous, ever-changing music that sounds quite avant-garde and off-the-wall.’

‘The chorus of plants and animals at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne is a unique and mesmerising privilege to hear,’ said Chris Russell, executive director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.

‘Our beautiful gardens are a sanctuary to Australian flora and fauna and Eco Opera allows us to share them with the world. I am very excited for Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne to be a part of this international collaboration and to see the colours and sounds of our Red Sand Garden broadcast in contrast to those from the other side of the globe.’

Peter Baxter, curator at Benmore Botanic Garden, part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, added: ‘We have always believed it to be crucial that Benmore is a part of this important initiative. It describes the elemental relationship between art and nature and demonstrates the core reason for the existence of botanic gardens.

‘All life as we know it is dependent on plants and fungi in order to survive, Eco Opera is a unique example of inspiring people to be a part of nature and it is a thought-provoking way of getting people to realise just how important the environment around us is.’

NO_T20_Eco Opera_02_Benmore_Photo © Hazel Palmer

Episode two of the Eco Opera will be recorded simultaneously in the Royal Botanic Garden Benmore, pictured, and the rural town of Girgarre in northern Victoria, Australia. Photograph: Hazel Palmer ©

NO_T20_Eco Opera_01_Tit on Guitar_Photo © Graeme Leak

‘Few of us listen attentively to the sounds of nature that endlessly flood our senses,’ said organisers. ‘Eco Opera will open your ears, using innovative techniques to amplify normally inaudible noises. Photograph: Graeme Leak ©