BAM Is Bringing A Beach To Brooklyn For Climate Change Opera

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has announced its new fall season, and it’s kicking things off with a taste of summer, by bringing the acclaimed Lithuanian opera Sun & Sea to Fort Greene.

In 2019, after it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, the NY Times called it: “a portrait of an apocalyptic climate crisis that goes down as easily as a trip to the beach.” The production features opera singers and beachgoers lounging in the sand while the audience watches from above.

Here’s how the show—composed by Lina Lapelytė, written by Vaiva Grainytė, and directed by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė—is described on its website:

Imagine a beach – you within it, or better: watching from above – the burning sun, sunscreen and bright bathing suits and sweaty palms and legs. Tired limbs sprawled lazily across a mosaic of towels. Imagine the occasional squeal of children, laughter, the sound of an ice cream van in the distance. The musical rhythm of waves on the surf, a soothing sound (on this particular beach, not elsewhere). The crinkling of plastic bags whirling in the air, their silent floating, jellyfish-like, below the waterline. The rumble of a volcano, or of an airplane, or a speedboat. Then a chorus of songs: everyday songs, songs of worry and of boredom, songs of almost nothing. And below them: the slow creaking of an exhausted Earth, a gasp.

Artnet described some of the action in the climate change opera: “A cranky woman complains in song that nobody cleans up their trash or their dogs’ poop; a wealthy mother brags about seeing the ‘bleached, pallid whiteness’ of the Great Barrier Reef and how excited she is for her eight-year-old to see it; a young man complains that it did not snow on Christmas, and instead ‘felt like it could be Easter.'”

An aerial view of the beachgoers on the sand inside a warehouse, with onlookers looking down at the beach from a mezzanine

Sun & Sea Andrej Vasilenko (BAM handout)

Sun & Sea will be performed from September 15th through September 26th. Other fall shows announced include ASUNA, where Japanese artist ASUNA plays a note on 100 different electronic keyboards; Cria, a Brazilian dance performance featuring creator Alice Ripoli and a Black cis and trans dance troupe from Rio de Janeiro; and By Heart, an interactive poetry and storytelling performance from Tiago Rodrigues.

Tickets go on sale July 20th for BAM members and patrons and on July 27th for the general public.