19.3. 2024, 8pm
Wechselwirkung / 
Experimental Music Theatre 

PEEK Project On the fragility of sounds / Pia Palme, Paola Bianchi, Juliet Fraser, Irene Lehmann, Christina Lessiak
Pia Palme + Sonja Leipold: Vanishing Shores
Live performance 
echoraum Vienna


Wechselwirkung (November 2020) 
A Montage for the Anthropocene 

A music theatre piece for singer, dancer, ensemble and electronics (2020) created by Pia Palme, Paola Bianchi,
Juliet Fraser, Irene Lehmann, Christina Fischer-Lessiak − an artistic research collaboration group as part of the
PEEK Project On the fragility of sounds 

World premiere 13.11.2020 
Produced in cooperation with Wien Modern 33

Duration 60’

Pia Palme – concept, composition, text, bass recorder
Juliet Fraser − voice (soprano), dance
Paola Bianchi − choreography, dance
Christina Fischer-Lessiak − artistic assistant, research, production
Irene Lehmann − dramaturgy

Lars Mlekusch – conductor

Ensemble PHACE
Doris Nicoletti – flutes | Reinhold Brunner – bass clarinets | Daniele Brekyte – violin | Rafał Zalech – viola | Barbara Riccabona – violoncello | Alexandra Dienz – double bass | Berndt Thurner – percussion

Molly McDolan − oboe da caccia 
Sonja Leipold – harpsichord

Veronika Mayerböck – light
Christian Sundl – event assistant

For the video & trailer
Michaela Schwentner – film direction and concept, editing
Christina Bauer – sound design, recording
Martin Siewert – sound editing
Martin Putz – camera

Produktion FWF PEEK Projekt On the fragility of Sounds AR 537
mit Unterstützung der KUG Kunstuniversität Graz, ZfG
Koproduktion mit Wien Modern 33

@WUK Vienna, Projektraum 

About the piece 

Combining the distinctive creative process of choreographer Paola Bianchi with the compositional practice of Pia Palme, the piece has been devised in an experimental, non-hierarchical, collaborative way. The question of transmission between the disciplines was woven into the entire process of the group. We developed both precisely composed materials and improvisational modules. A storyboard designed by Palme and Bianchi brought these modules together and specified the spatial configurations. The storyboard was completed with Lehmann’s advice on dramaturgy and with feedback from Fischer-Lessiak. Every member of the creative group shared their particular expertise and experience. Soprano Juliet Fraser brought in her expertise as a singer. In her performance, she linked together Palme’s score with Bianchi’s oral instructions, giving feedback at every step during the process. She embodied Palme’s music and Bianchi’s choreography. The theatre scholar Dr. Irene Lehman and Christina Fischer-Lessiak, a musicologist and cultural worker, joined the group to further enrich the collaborative practice and discourse. The results explored the consonance, dissonance and interferences between voices, sounds, spaces and bodies – a polyphonic assemblage in which movement in space shapes music and sound shapes bodies in space. Also, multiple temporalities converge in the piece: Francesca Caccini’s soundworld and texts interfere with contemporary music and text, the intense period of the pandemic merges with pre-pandemic ideas and concepts. 

A montage for the Anthropocene?

The piece began as a research experiment. It is an experimental opera or a music theatre work in the widest sense. 

Pia Palme: ‘I began with some devised material which I knew would form only a starting point; the process is like walking into a room with a blindfold on.’

Paola Bianchi uses her archive of postures to work from:
‘I have been using my archive of postures (or non-postures, collective images), which I am interested to share with others to see how they are transformed. These are my tools. It is like seeing how different ingredients fit together or can be destroyed.’

The premiere and the performances were not open to the public. We arranged the venue Projektraum at WUK into a ‘COVID-safe’ theatre space and rehearsed the piece according to the pandemic regulations at the time. Performances were then recorded and filmed. We changed the stage concept so that the required safety distance could be kept between the members of the ensemble as well as between the performers. The trailer therefore shows an adapted arrangement and choreography, not the original design. I completed the composition during the first lockdown period in Austria in the spring of 2020 and made adjustments that became necessary because of the pandemic later that year, during a residency in Switzerland. The artistic process of all the contributors resonates the difficult situation during that year. Michaela Schwentner produced a film of the premiere which was shown online in January 2021. 


The The PEEK AR 537 artistic research project ON THE FRAGILITY OF SOUNDS explored composition and
music theatre from the perspective of the active composer and her practice. The project was funded by the
FWF Austrian Science Fund and hosted at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, KUG, Centre for
Gender Studies and Diversity.