The planet Solaris is almost completely covered with an ocean that is revealed to be a single organism endowed with intelligence and able to interact with humans. Terran scientists are attempting communication with the Ocean. Beyond a scientific and technological adventure, Solaris is a philosophical reflection on human behaviour and memory. The characters must confront their deepest fears appearing in human form: to understand the extraterrestrial intelligence, they must first understand themselves.
It is this everlasting human quest that brought the composer Dai Fujikura and the choreographer and stage director Saburo Teshigawara together to co-create this lyric version of Solaris. A prolific composer of symphonic and chamber music, Fujikura was born in 1977 in Japan and studied in London. Early on, he was noticed by the circle of Pierre Boulez, who conducted the world premiere of one of Fujikura’s pieces in 2005. His elder compatriot Saburo Teshigawara is a renowned choreographer and stage director whose works were acclamed in France at the Théâtre du Chaillot, the Paris Opera and the Festival of Aix en Provence.
Solaris is a total work, mixing acoustic and electronic music, opera and contemporary dance : each of the four protagonists will be interpreted by one singer and one dancer. 3D video projections by Ulf Langheinrich will personify the Ocean. The audience will be invited at certain points to put on 3D glasses (the total time of the 3D projections is expected to total approx.15 minutes).
Opera by Dai Fujikura in 4 acts (2015).
Libretto by Saburo Teshigawara, based on Stanislaw Lem’s novel « Solaris », with the kind permission of his heirs.
World premiere on March, the 05th, 2015 at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Commissioned by Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Lausanne, Ircam-Centre Pompidou and Ensemble intercontemporain. In coproduction with Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Lausanne, Ircam-Centre Pompidou.
Publisher : G. Ricordi Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH
Running time 90 min (no interval)
Trailer : excerpts from Saburo Teshigawara’s ballet Miroku ; music from Solaris ; video by Ulf Langheinrich.
Performances at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées : March 5th and 7th, 2015
Performances at Opéra de Lille, March 24, 26 and 28th, 2015
Performances at Opéra de Lausanne, April 24 and 26th, 2015
Cast, technical specifications and set sketches
Synopsis by Saburo Teshigawara
Kris Kelvin – Psychologist
Snaut – Cyberkinetics scientist
Hari – Kris’s dead wife who committed suicide 10 years ago.
Gibarian – A scientist friend of Kris who committed suicide.
Solaris, a planet in the universe still unrevealed to the human race. There is no life on this planet. A plasmic “Ocean” covers the surface, and is presumed that it has an organic formation, without life as we conceive it, but capable of performing functional activities. But the attempt to make any kind of “contact” with it, has not succeeded so far.
Psychologist Kris Kelvin is assigned to fly to Solaris and investigate the situation of the chaos that seems to be happening among the 2 scientists researching there.
It was his duty to find out the truth, to reveal the secret of the Ocean, to contact the Ocean, and to define whether or not to continue the research on the orbital station.
But what Kris witnessed upon his arrival, was a strained silence, and signs of terrible devastation. Physicist Gibarian his friend, has already committed suicide for an unknown reason. The remaining cyberkinetics scientist Snaut also suffers from unknown phenomena, all seeming to derive from the influence of the Ocean. Kris’s fears and doubts grow.
And Hari, Kris’s late wife who committed suicide 10 years ago, suddenly appears in front of him. Having never overcome the guilt for having made her do this, he is shocked by her appearance. When rejected from Kris, she hurts herself, and tries to commit suicide by drinking liquid oxygen, but without success. She cannot die. This is because she is the psychological construct of the Solaris Ocean, which forms in reality the memory and desire of human beings while they are asleep.
Snaut is desperate under the influence of the “visitors” sent by the Ocean. Kris’s relationship with Hari grows stronger, and he loves her more than before. Kris is distressed as a human being rather than a psychologist, because Hari found out about the fact that her existence is not human. Hari’s agony makes Kris suffer.
Hari rejects her own existence. She is a mere copy, who cannot even die. Knowing this truth, makes their relationship even more impossible. In despair, Hari asks Snaut to make her substance disappear with a special apparatus. Kris’s despair of loosing Hari makes him take a new decision. He steps onto Solaris to encounter the Ocean. And he had an experience he would never have expected with it, and decides to stay on Solaris, and live as a completely new human being, with little hope, of what Hari has left.
The Ocean which covers most of the surface of the planet Solaris is like a colossal brain, which was inevitably beyond human understanding. Scientists were sent to attempt contact with the Ocean, but some accidents and confusion had risen among them. And thus, psychologist Kris Kelvin has been assigned to visit the Solaris orbital station to investigate the situation. There, Kris finds out the circumstances through various abnormal phenomenon. Snaut is terrified with anxiety, and a video tells him the suicide of Gibarian, his friend.
Hari, Kris’s dead wife appears in front of him. He has conversation with her, but cannot believe she is real, and has doubts. Hari has an abnormal tendency to hurt herself, and she herself feels anxious about this. Kris tries to understand her. But Snaut coldly analyzes that Hari is a mere copy that the ocean has created from Kris’s memory. Kris is astounded, and Hari eavesdrops their conversation. She does not understand everything, but understands that she is worthless. She is despaired, but her feelings towards Kris grow stronger.
Snaut confronts Hari directly that she is only a copy. Hari says she knows this, but insists in deep grief that even if so, she loves Kris. Kris, not knowing what to do, talks with Gibarian in his dream, but his anxiety grows even more. Hari tries to commit suicide by drinking liquid oxygen, but without success. Hari’s grief reaches its peak. She asks Kris what she can possibly do if she cannot even die, and all Kris can do is hold her in his arms.
A few weeks later
Snaut, Kris, Hari, all are drifting in their emptiness. Days go by in dilemma with no exit. Kris and Hari spend days pretending as if nothing had happened, with great uneasiness among them. Day and night passed. Outside the Ocean was slowly undulating. One day, Kris wakes up to find that Hari has gone. Hari had asked Snaut to make herself disappear. He tried out the experiment with the neutrino that the scientists had been studying. Snaut says that the “copy” will never again return, and Kris believes it will…
The next day
Kris sets out alone to confront the Ocean. Hope is the only thing that Hari had left for him, and he decides to stay on Solaris with it and live a new life, even if there might be more suffering waiting ahead.
“Will my journey end, or will I remain amidst eternity?”