by The Industry Opera
Directed by Yuval Sharon and Cannupa Hanska Luger
Music by Raven Chacon and Du Yun
Libretto by Aja Couchois Duncan and Douglas Kearney
Los Angeles State Historic Park, February 2020
The Arrivals wash up on the shore. They make contact with another civilization they call “the Hosts.” And from there, the story splinters, following diverging perspectives. Starting as a procession through the LA State Historic Park, Sweet Land becomes an opera that erases itself.
Designed after a zoetrope - an object that creates an illusion of motion, the structure held the performers at the perimeter of the space, appearing and disappearing behind the panels of a perpetually moving, man-operated machine. This machine creates an illusion of progress; the myth of meritocracy and Manifest Destiny enslaving the bodies that create it, and erases a culture it seeks to tame.
‘Sweet Land’s’ radical design uses Los Angeles to rethink the architecture of Opera - Los Angeles Time
"...the rolling walls that serve as evocations of locomotives in “Train"... is a remarkable feat of design — like being placed in a swirling vortex." - Carolina A. Miranda
‘Sweet Land’ Review: A Journey Through History - Wall Street Journal
"Train" is violent and visceral. Even the set is violent - the wooden panels that make up the round theater slide abruptly on tracks, alternately revealing and concealing the performers in niches behind the audience. - Heidi Waleson
Review: An Opera Erases and Rewrites the American Myth - New York Times
"Despite the ad hoc architecture... there’s a sense of extravagance in the marshaling of dozens of artists and so many technical challenges for something that passes so quickly.
Quickly, yet in epic style. I’ve rarely taken in a work that’s so grandiosely modest." - Zachary Woolf
Cultures Clash in 'Sweet Land' - San Francisco Classical Voice
"The audience had entered the circular pavilion of the Train — a remarkable 360-degree stage of revolving panels designed by Carlo Maghirang." - Jim Farber