Talk in Technicolor (2016)


Music by Samuel Beebe
Libretto by Liss Lafleur, Brittney Balkcom, and Samuel Beebe

Talk in Technicolor is an operatic sequence created by performance/media artist Liss Lafleur, flutist Brittney Balkcom, and composer Samuel Beebe. Integrating visual storytelling, in the form of projected short films and a responsive lighting design, into each musical composition, the work combines performance, vintage radio content created by J. Kent Hackleman, and visual storytelling to reflect not only on the culture and events that occurred throughout the 1960’s, but also the ways in which information was transmitted, changing both family values and structures. Embedded into the score is a host of archival radio fragments and assemblies of Hackleman’s candid interviews, piecing together a collage of the social and political landscape of the times, featuring the voices of Marlene Dietrich, Virginia Prince, Timothy Leary, Malcolm Boyd, Andre Previn, Christine Jorgensen, Sybil Leek, and Liberace.

In "Well, I Just Couldn't," we encounter our protagonist, Dolores, at a strange moment. This is Houston in 1962, and Dolores has volunteered as a research subject for a clinical study of the effects of LSD on "normal people," and her trip is starting to peak. She perseveres through the doctor's interview, but ultimately is at a loss for words.

Morgan Horning, Dolores (soprano)
Brittney Balkcom, flute
Urszula Rucka, harp

Illustration by Liss Lafleur.