Conductor Alondra de la Parra and clown performer Gabriela Munoz pose for a promotional picture for "The Silence of Sound" in La Bisbal d'Emporda, Spain on August 17, 2021, in this handout photo obtained by Reuters on December 01, 2021. Courtesy of Elekin Arts/David Ruano/Handout via REUTERS
December 1, 2021
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LONDON (Reuters) – Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra hopes to entice audiences with her love of classical music through a new multi-disciplinary performance in which she pairs an orchestra and a clown on stage.
De la Parra, who has conducted more than 100 orchestras including the London Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris, embraces a new format with “The Silence of Sound”, and puts musicians on stage rather than in the pit.
Through classical pieces, the orchestra plays a key role in the story-telling as the clown searches for fulfilment.
“The stories we tell in this show are just some out of the many possible stories one can come up with when listening to classical music,” de la Parra told Reuters.
“We hope to reach a larger audience so that they fall in love with the orchestra, and also to give some comfort, dreams, imagination and art in this difficult period of time that we are living in.”
Alongside the music, Mexican clown performer Gabriela Muñoz, who does not speak during the performance, interacts with visual projections, such as birds in flight.
“My character is a character I’ve played for many years already,” she said.
“We place her in this situation where she goes on a visual, melodical and emotional journey to find herself in tune with the music, or really, to find her inner music that allows her to dance to her own rhythm like we’re all capable of doing.”
De la Parra’s music selection includes pieces by Claude Debussy, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky among others.
“I wanted to have very contrasting works, one after the other, that could be a very beautiful sample as an introduction to the orchestra of pieces that anybody can fall in love with immediately,” she said.
The two women have been working on the project for six years, more recently overcoming issues made difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Muñoz only just recently performed alongside the GIO Symphonia orchestra ahead of a preview in front of an audience in Girona, Spain last week.
“The time we’re living and going through this pandemic makes it even more relevant…to remind (ourselves) how important it is to go through emotional journeys, to continue sharing,” Muñoz said.
“The Silence of Sound” will premiere in Mexico in July. De la Parra plans Mexican and European tours afterward.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich)