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A Letter For Queen Victoria: An Opera (1974)
Robert Wilson

77 Pages

The staggering Schizo-Culture issue of semiotext(e) (no. 2, 1978)—punctuated by Christopher Knowles' patterned typings and childlike scribblings—features a brief interview of Bob Wilson by Sylvère Lotringer. Lotringer: How did you arrive at a theatre which is not based upon language? Wilson: I never liked theatre… Later I added words, but words weren't used to tell a story. They were used more architecturally: for the length of the word of the sentence, for the sound. They were constructed like music. Wilson wrote the opera libretto for A Letter to Queen Victoria in 1974, two years before Einstein on the Beach. Most of the text is derived from a mechanical rehearsal process of performance and improvisation in "supportive dialogue" with Knowles' spontaneously organized pseudo-geometric speech patterns. L: It seems to be very logically, even mathematically ordered although it may be futile to try to understand what that order actually is. W: Then I became more fascinated with him and what he was doing with language. He would take ordinary, everyday words and destroy them. They became like molecules that were always changing, breaking apart all the time, many-faceted words, not just a dead language, a rock breaking apart… Originally performed with scream songs, contrapuntal shouts, and heteroglossic murmurs—far removed and formally inscribed, this outstanding libretto still reads with the distinct verbivocovisual pleasure of anarchic verbal destruction and architectonic musical reconstruction.

Related Resource: Robert Wilson & Christopher Knowles The Sundance Kid Was Beautiful (MP3) from Giorno Poetry Systems - Big Ego