Tim Parkinson’s Time With People (2013) is not an opera in the traditional sense. There are no characters, costumes, or even orchestral instruments. Instead, the stage is set with trash and other assorted objects. The soloists and chorus speak, dance, chant, and drum. And the only “classical” music comes from a recording.
Alternately funny, playful, perplexing, and sad, the work challenges audiences to reconsider their preconceived notions of the nature of music. Writing about the world-premiere performance, Lawrence Dunn remarked, “This is a world in which music is a kind of memory—something that must be reconstructed from the ground up, and afterwards returned to the same ground.”