The voice is a symbol of liberation and self-expression. But a voice can also remain silent, or be forcibly silenced. In the opera Buenos Aires, performed at this year’s Ultima (18 September), innovative Danish composer Simon Steen-Andersen deals with the cultural shock experienced during a long stay in the Argentine capital, and issues around censorship under the Argentinian dictatorship (1976–83), one of Latin America’s more unfortunate historical episodes.
Argentine musicologist Esteban Buch specialises in the relationship between music and politics and has written the libretto for Sebastian Rivas opera Aliados (2013). Currently, Buch is director of studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, . Here he hosts a conversation with Steen-Andersen and singers from Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and musicians from asamisimasa, following the different phases of putting on a stage work, from conception and composition through to rehearsal, performance and interpretation.