A Note from PermaDeath Composer Dan Visconti

Why are we here, and what happens when we die?

Some aspect of this question forms the bedrock of all philosophy and religion, and each age answers with its own updated myths. In today’s world, we have records and data that will outlast our physical forms; and we go so far as to create digital avatars of ourselves, curating our social media presence and plugging our consciousness into increasingly life-like video games.

When Cerise Jacobs and I first discussed the idea of a video game opera, it was exactly her grounding in mythology that most excited me. In a genre where original stories are few, it’s always been extremely important to me that our artistic grappling with the present draws upon the wisdom and myths of the past—connecting the part of human nature that is essential with the particular possibilities and challenges we face right now. Thus, our video game opera is populated by mythological avatars, forever enacting out quarrels and romances drawn from our deep cultural past.

To put so much of oneself into something that comes to life—or to pour oneself into a new kind of existence—is a striking kind of transference, a kind of rebirth. At a time when we put so much of ourselves into simulated realities, it’s fascinating to explore the age-old questions in a new light.

The music for this opera draws upon a variety of video game influences, especially massively multiplayer online role-playing games and epic fantasy genres. These games and their responsive scores were some of my formative musical experiences, and the score likewise features responsive technology blended with animation and live singing in a way that truly brings modern possibilities to an ancient art form. It’s been a privilege to work with such a dedicated and generous creative team on a project that has broken so much new ground.

Related Reading

PermaDeath—Boston 2018