Request to Minnesota Opera



I am interested in performing live silk painting in an Opera. This is because Opera is a truly live experience that can touch an audience emotionally, through story, music, and visual spectacle. Here is a short video of one of my performances and a link to my main page


Below is an example of how my skills might be used:

In the Final act of Madame Butterfly: her suicide

Butterfly makes her preparations and steps behind the screen.

The screen becomes lit and on the front of the screen the audience sees Japanese characters appear printed in black sumi-e strokes (like Japanese calligraphy).

The top of the screen begins to rise slowly toward the ceiling, exposing more blank silk - like rolling out rice paper. The black strokes change and take on the form of the silhouette of Butterfly. As the shoji continues to rise, the images in thick black strokes show the actions of Butterfly as she reaches for the knife and plunges it into her stomach.

At this point the reds begin to explode on the screen. Her black silhouette changes to reds that fill the screen as it continues to rise. In the end there is a tower of silk that records her last actions ending in an explosion of dripping blood, in the shape of a butterfly.

The silk continues to rise, the base of the shoji separates, and the tower of silk is released and looks like a hanging Japanese scroll twenty feet tall and five feet wide - floating in the air.

My Interest in the Minnesota Opera

The Minnesota Opera has a reputation for world-class artistic quality and innovation. I live two hours from the Twin Cities and can be available during development and performance relatively cheaply. I don't think that my capabilities or the possibilities of the medium have been used to their fullest extent in a live theatrical performance. This is from an artist who has performed with orchestras, created the theatrical backdrop during 20 performances of a musical, used runway models as a frame for a live painting, and performed live painting while being flown up in the air using ropes.

I know that this has never been done before in an Opera.


Lee Zimmerman