Carriageworks, Sydney
November 16, 2015

There was a time when Italian maverick Fausto Romitelli (1963-2004) was thought of as one of the bad boys of the European contemporary music scene. Works like the Professor Bad Trip series, Blood on the Floor and Trash TV Trance rattled the cages of a fair few by laying siege to the boundaries between high art and popular culture. Shortly before his premature death from cancer, his 2003 video opera, An Index of Metals, was acclaimed as the culmination of his work to date, and if it’s hard to see what all the fuss was about with respect to its power to shock, in the right hands it can still pack quite a punch.

Conceived as a vocal monologue to be played out in front of a triptych of screens, Paolo Pachini and Leonardo Romoli’s video design was intended to be integral to any performance. Director Kip Williams for Sydney Chamber Opera has intriguingly decided to ditch their contribution, leaving it to play out on three TV monitors placed amongst the band at floor level (essentially invisible to much of the audience). Is its presence a contractual requirement? Who cares. Williams’ visual alternative is infinitely more...