BBC World Service
Žygimantas Kudirka is Lithuania’s leading spoken-word artist and agent provocateur. A prolific writer and creative artist, he has won Europe’s Best Slam Poet as well as multiple hip-hop awards, blending satire and social critique with dystopian and futurist themes.
Žygimantas, who goes by the alias MC Messiah, is shaking up the scene with a new libretto for the opera Brave New Body, teaming up with avant-garde composer Arturas Bumšteinas. Kudirka’s texts play with the idea of the human body as a machine, not without his trademark satire, and sets them to the sutartinė, an ancient polyphonic form found in Lithuania which has Unesco status.
Is it possible to combine centuries-old traditional music with hyper-modern dystopian themes? We sit in on rehearsals with the Lietuva Song and Dance Ensemble leading up to the opera’s premiere, commissioned by the Operomanija festival in Vilnius.
Presenter John Beauchamp
Producer: John Beauchamp and Bartosz Panek
A Free Range and Overcoat Media co-production for BBC World Service