I Felt A Funeral In My Brain

Kaya Giroux (2021)

During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21, health and safety concerns made in-person performances impossible. For many undergraduates studying in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music, this meant that their required annual recitals were performed in empty halls. Not so for Kaya Rose Giroux, a lyric soprano and third-year vocal performance student, who used the constraints imposed by the pandemic as an opportunity to produce a junior voice recital beyond the confines of the stage, innovating in a century-old format.

Giroux performed half of her junior recital in CMU’s Alumni Concert Hall—as explicitly required by the School—where she recorded audio tracks with her collaborative pianist. With the goal of demonstrating that “opera can exist outside the confines of a stage”, Giroux then combined these tracks with video performances she recorded in more unusual locations, such as in her bedroom, graveyards, singing in the rain, and running barefoot in the grass, that had close conceptual connections to the libretto. She writes: “I want to continue to explore how my colleagues and I can change the direction of opera for the better. I think projects that take opera off the stage and into the world are so important in bringing back to life the entire art form. In bringing this music out into everyday environments, we are reshaping the future of opera.”

I Felt A Funeral In My Brain was supported by Microgrant #2021-038 from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier.