Tora Bora Black Dust An Opera in Three Acts
Artwork by Art Hazelwood
Design & Staging by Klaus-Ullrich Rötzscher
Storyline & Lyrics by Art Hazelwood
San Francisco: Pettingell Book Bindery / Art Hazelwood, 2011. Edition of 20.
12 x 13" fold-out boxed opera set with screenprinted covers. Includes miniature stage set, seven two-dimensional puppets that fit into groves in the stage floor, six engravings that act as changeable background drops, and a booklet with libretto. Engravings printed on Hahnemühle Copperplate paper and Lana Gravure paper. Screenprints printed on Hahnemühle Bugra paper and Arches Watercolor Hot Press paper. Booklet (8.5 x 5"; 24 pages) printed on Mohawk Superfine and set in Verlag, Chronicle Text, and Lithos Pro. Signed by Hazelwood.
Art Hazelwood: "Tora Bora is a reverse engineered opera. The Seventeenth Century etcher Jacques Callot’s illustrations of scenes from operas inspired the thought—what if all that remained of an opera were etchings from a few scenes? How, for example, would the Magic Flute be reconstructed from that? With this in mind Art Hazelwood and Klaus-Ullrich Rötzscher began this collaboration.
"Art Hazelwood engraved the six scenes from the opera Tora Bora. Tora Bora is the name of a mountain cave complex at the center of Afghan contemporary history. The CIA funded the expansion of the caves there to help the Mujahedeen fight the Soviets. The Taliban used them, and it was Osama Bin Laden’s last known address, from where he escaped capture by the US. Even now poppy production and Taliban activity is rampant in this rugged mountain area twenty miles from the Pakistan border.
"The opera is presented in a fold out stage with screen printed covers. The viewer moves through the various scenes of the opera while reading the storyline and lyrics in an accompanying booklet and using seven puppets to enact the scenes. Should a full scale opera appear it will be staged on a larger stage."
Two young Afghani lovers – Jaweed and Sitara – never have a chance. Buffeted by the storm of contemporary events – poppy growers, Soviets, Mujahideen, Taliban, CIA, Northern Alliance, US military – their doomed love is perfect opera material.