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Prospect Park
Prospect Park. Photo by Elizabeth Keegin Colley. Courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance.

A 10-hour opera for trees coming to Prospect Park

Humans can enjoy the experimental art piece, too.

Written by
André Wheeler

A 10-hour opera "for and about trees" will be performed in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park next month.

The creative product of artist Kamala Sankaram, whose previous work includes a space opera performed live over the internet, The Last Stand tracks the life of a tree from acorn to death, touching on the potentially disastrous effects of climate change along the way. 

The public sound installation and experimental opera will be on view from September 18 through October 10, 2021. 

Check out the summary for the show: "Over the course of 10 hours, the opera spans the Mother Tree’s life from acorn to its 'last stand,' the final burst of life-giving energy a tree gives to its vast forest life network before it dies. Trees and visitors will experience sounds native to the natural environment, including animal and tree canopy noises, as well as sounds that mimic moments of life-altering tragedy, including invasions from non-native insects to human-induced threats such as excess rain, logging, and fire. Finally, the narrative carries the audience into the future with sounds that hint at the catastrophic effects of climate change, calling attention to the symbiotic and sometimes negative relationships within ecosystems."

Accessibility is built into the piece. The narrative of the artwork can be "accessed by the trees themselves through the ground as well by humans, including deaf and hard of hearing visitors, through vibrational benches," Creative Time shared. 

The Last Stand is likely to make viewers realize the urgency and necessity of protecting our already fragile ecosystem.

"Since our founding in 1987, Prospect Park Alliance has played a critical role in revitalizing the park's 250 acres of core woodlands," Susan Donoghue, President of Prospect Park Alliance and Park Administrator, shared. "The park's woodlands and 30,000 trees are the 'lungs' of Brooklyn and are vital to our community's health and well-being. We are so pleased to be hosting The Last Stand, and drawing attention to the importance of trees to our environment and future.” 

The public work of art will be free for all to enjoy. 

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