The Unsung Torsos: An Opera in 13 Parts (2010) is an experimental performance piece by performance artist Sarah Paul and Julia Christensen. The performance was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland. The story centers on the Torso Murders, an unsolved case that has lingered in Cleveland lore since the 1930’s. Each “act” in this experimental opera tells the life story of one of the 13 victims implicated in the case. The piece was performed by Sarah Paul, Christensen, and the ensemble WAM!: Women and Art Music.
To create the scores, Christensen videotaped landscapes across Cleveland, and collected videos from public domain archives related to the story. During a residency at the Experimental Television Center in upstate NY, she created 13 videos using this footage. These videos became the “scores.” The players used video parameters (color, movement) to “direct” their improvisational music.
>>”Staff Pick: Experimental Opera,” Cleveland Scene Magazine