L’Orient is a multidisciplinary production produced by Thresh, a New York–based performing arts collaborative. The production recontextualizes the Orientalist gaze and its representation of women and people of color in the classical arts. The project envisions Lakmé, the lead character in the eponymous 1883 opera by Léo Delibes, as a twenty-first-century woman situated in the chaotic environment of reality television. Today’s Lakmé represents the voice of a modern woman questioning her constrained role in a patriarchal society. This provocative work features choreography based on the principles of ballet and the Indian dance tradition Bharatanatyam, in dialogue with a score of Carnatic songs (South Indian classical music), operatic vocals, percussion, electronics (including amplified pointe), and a libretto that includes texts in French, Indian Telugu, and English.

The Works & Process bubble residency at Mount Tremper Arts provided an opportunity for the creative team to continue to redefine opera as an intersectional landscape for Eastern and Western artistic disciplines. During the course of the residency, select vignettes of L’Orient were developed that challenge the cultural displacement of exoticized subjects and characters in Western opera. Featured performers include Sangeetha Santhebennur, Justine Aronson, Ramona Kelley, Jolina Javier, Dorothea Garland, Weston Krukow, Ted Keener, and Samantha Figgins (not present in the video).

The work will premiere digitally on Sunday, April 4 at 7:30 pm ET on this page and Lincoln Center’s Facebook and YouTube as well as on Works & Process at the Guggenheim’s FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Works & Process at Lincoln Center
Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts present three newly commissioned video performances developed during Works & Process bubble residencies at Bethany Arts Community, Catskill Mountain Foundation, and Mount Tremper Arts that were sequenced directly into filming on location at The New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, facilitated by the Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Click here to learn more »