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The opera La gata perduda, result of the Traction project with UAB involvement

17 Oct 2022
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The Gran Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona recently premiered La gata perduda, a participative opera in which neighbours and entities from the Raval district in Barcelona were the actors. The opera is the result of the Traction project, focused on opera as a social transformation through audiovisual art and emerging technologies; a project in which the UAB research group TransMedia Catalonia also participated.

Opera La gata perduda

La gata perduda, the first piece of the Òpera Prima programme, Liceu's new line of community creation with the aim of socially including citizens through culture, was created as part of the project "Traction, Opera Co-creation for a Social Transformation". The objective of the project is to get different communities involved in the creative process of composing an opera and empowering people in risk of social exclusion in the process.

This project, funded by the European Union's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, was conducted by a team of nine institutions, including the UAB, represented by the research group Transmedia Catalonia and its director Pilar Orero, and lecturer Anna Matamala, both lecturers of the Department of Translation, Interpreting and East Asian Studies. The UAB contributed greatly with a methodology focused on the community with the aim of analysing the social impact of participating and obtaining a an effective and measurable community process of dialogue and co-creation.

La gata perduda focuses on a close-knit community rebelling against the de facto powers that aim to speculate and use the Raval neighbourhood for their own personal interests. The character of the cat represents the fight against abuse and the hope of being free. The neighbourhood was actively present during the entire artistic process. The libretto was written by Victoria Szpunberg after interviewing neighbours of the Raval, while the music was composed by Arnau Tordera, who incorporated typical neighbourhood sounds into his score. What is more, eleven choirs from the Raval also participated in creating this opera.

The opera was performed during three days, from 5 to 7 October. In addition to La gata perduda, the Traction project has spent three years working on two new operas: O tempo (somos nós), a project by the Sociedade Artística Musical dos Pousos (SAMP) which included the participation of inmates from a youth detention centre in Leiria, Portugal, and Out of the Ordinary / As an nGnách, a virtual reality community opera created with rural communities in Ireland and directed by the Irish National Opera (INO).

The Traction project is led by Vicomtech (Basque Country) and, in addition to the UAB, includes the involvement of François Matarasso from the Dublin City University (DCU), the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I), and Virtual Reality Ireland (VRI).