September 16, 2021

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė
Sun & Sea

Arcadia Exhibitions

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė, Sun & Sea (Marina). Opera-performance. Performance view, the 58th International Venice Biennale, Venice, 2019. Photo: Andrej Vasilenko. Courtesy of the artists.

Sun & Sea is an opera-performance by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė, curated by Lucia Pietroiusti. Set on an artificial beach, viewed from a four-sided mezzanine above, the work directs our attention to a crowd of swimsuit-clad performers conveying anxieties that range from sunburn to environmental catastrophe. Blurring the lines between music, theater, and poetry, the 60-minute work—which loops for a duration of five hours—received the Golden Lion for best national presentation at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The Philadelphia production will feature the original cast, including thirteen soloists who are joined by non-singing extras sourced from the community.

Sun & Sea is widely celebrated as one of the most compelling works to address the tension between a global leisure economy and ecological malaise, complicated now by the exigencies of a pandemic. Its success hinges on the deceptively playful manner in which the work allows audiences to respond in ways that parallel the complexity and universality of our environmental turmoil. Instead of admonition or prescription, Sun & Sea provides an aerial but intimate view of our response to the climate emergency and how it has become part of our everyday lives. As the project’s curator, Lucia Pietroiusti has written: “For all of its subtle, emotional, environmental anxiety, Sun & Sea carries its characters’ foolish optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence not with judgement but with relative care, with something akin to self-recognition."

Major support for Sun & Sea has been provided to Arcadia Exhibitions by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, funding which helped to facilitate the four-venue US tour that includes stops at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York (September 15–26), The Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas (October 6–9), and The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (October 14–16), as part of a collaboration between The Hammer, MOCA, and the Center for the Art of Performance (CAP/UCLA).

On Sunday, October 3, at 11am, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė along with curator Lucia Pietroiusti, will participate in “Dioramas of the Anthropocene,” a panel discussion hosted by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Employing the Academy’s collection of habitat displays as a platform for conversation, the event will explore the bird’s eye view—integral to the artists’ conception of the opera-performance—as a means to picture our species’ relationship to a warming planet.

Major support for Sun & Sea has been provided to Arcadia Exhibitions by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with additional support from Arcadia University.

Concept and development: Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (director and set designer), Vaiva Grainytė (lyrics), and Lina Lapelytė (composer and music director)
Curator: Lucia Pietroiusti
Tour producer: Aušra Simanavičiūtė
Tour coordinator / stage manager: Erika Urbelevič
Technical director: Lique Van Gerven
Sound engineer: Romuald Chaloin Galiauskas
Live soundtrack: Salomėja Petronytė
Libretto translation (Lithuanian to English): Rimas Uzgiris
Singing performers: Evaldas Alekna, Aliona Alymova, Svetlana Bagdonaitė, Marco Cisco, Auksė Dovydėnaitė, Saulė Dovydėnaitė, Claudia Graziadei, Lucas Lopes Pereira, Artūras Miknaitis, Vytautas Pastarnokas, Eglė Paškevičienė, Kalliopi Petrou, Ieva Skorubskaitė, and Nabila Dandara Vieira Santos
Performers: Raminta Barzdžiukienė, Dovydas Korba, Vincentas Korba, Jeronimas Petraitis, Juozas Petraitis, Mantas Petraitis, Pranas Petraitis, Jonas Statkevičius, and others.

In Philadelphia, Sun & Sea has been organized by Richard Torchia, Director, Arcadia Exhibitions, and Martin Hartung, Curatorial Adviser.

Producer: FringeArts

Special thanks to Katherine Hanley, Laura Baldwin, Dan DiPrinzio, Jesse Krohn, Sarah Middleton, Peter Meanwell, Carrie Gorn, Marina McDougall, Nick Stuccio, Rob Edmondson, Metcalfe Architecture & Design, and Witty Gritty.

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