Music by Mikael Karlsson
Libretto by David Flodén and Mikael Karlsson
About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances


Space is a 10-dimensional continuum. In this world we meet SHE, a devoted astrophysicist in severe bodily decay. SISTER is also there, cheerful, pregnant and with a garden full of rabbits. When the sisters are admitted to the Marie Curie Memorial Clinic, the expansion of space is coming to an end. As they approach the moment of equilibrium, SHE is looking forward to a new physical order as promised to her by the Universe itself. SISTER is facing the birth of her child. New Physical Flesh, twofold: birth and rebirth. Meanwhile, in the wings, a conspiracy is formed. Will our heroine ever regain what was taken from her or is She trapped in a wildly decorated hellhole?

"Decoration employs both tonal and atonal idioms depending on the scene and who is singing. Arias tend to have key areas, but the harmonies employed are mostly far from triadic. Recitatives are mostly a cappella, so as to bring focus to the word and to the characters speaking, and atonal. The material usually scrapes the lower end of the singer's voices, again in order to bring a sense of faux realism to the sung material. A singer's speaking voice is usually lower than his or her singing voice. A low singing range brings realism to the singing in that sense.

The piano (ensemble) is used very sparingly so as to bring the audience closer to the performers. The piano should feel like a blessing when it finally arrives instead of constantly being there, thumping out chords for every moment. As in any good film, there should be gaps to fill in, absences to bend into whatever you want them to be. Decoration aims to provide a musical landscape that is as flawed as it is inviting. Its music should carry scars and blemishes, but also beauty and courage. Tonal moments should never feel "easier", and complexity should never feel "impressive" or "brainy". The story is key and there should be enough in that story to send you on a twisted musical trip through cursed hospitals with indoor oceans and out to the very edge of the universe." - Mikael Karlsson

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Mikael holds a masters degree in composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music and graduated Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors in June of 2005. He studied composition with Bruce Saylor and Edward Smaldone. He has received numerous awards for his compositions and his music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Galapagos Art Space, The Tank, Issue Project Room, Peter Jay Sharp Theater,The DUO Theater, The Stone, LeFrak Concert Hall and many other lovely venues in New York. He has been featured by WNYC's Soundcheck with John Schaefer and by the New York Times. He has collaborated with Lykke Li, Kleerup, Bruce LaBruce, Claire Chase, Joshua Rubin, Alexander Ekman, Mariam Wallentin, Alan Pierson, Alicia Keys, David Taylor, Othon Mataragas, Wolfram Koessel, Black Sun Productions, Lydia Lunch, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Maria Beatty, Victoria Bergsman (Taken By Trees), Cory Smythe, Wolfram Koessel, Francois Rousseau, ASS (Andreas Söderström), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Harumi Terayama, Swedish TV4, Rob Stephenson, Christopher McDonald and many more. In 2007, he was an honoree of the 2007 OUT100 top 100 influential people, listed as that year's composer. In 2011, the listeners of Q2 radio (NY public radio) voted Mikael as one of their favorite 100 composers under 40. He wrote the soundtracks to video games Battlefield Bad Company I and II to great acclaim. The latter has become the biggest March video game release in history with over 9 million copies sold. Mikael has released 12 recordings to date. All of them are available in the iTunes Store. His website is

David Flodén grew up in the woods of Northern Sweden. He currently works as an architect in Stockholm. Find him on Grindr or visit


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March 17 and March 23, 2013
New American Opera Previews: From Page to Stage (3/17)
Manhattan School of Music - Greenfield Hall, New York, New York 10027
OPERAtion Brooklyn (3/23)
South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217
Performances by Rebecca Ringle (She), Margreth Fredheim (Sister), Raehann Bryce-Davis (Nurse), Jason Cox (Universe)
Stage Direction: Caren France
Music Direction: Mila Henry
Piano: Scott Rednour

September 7 and 9, 2012
Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

May 20 and 21, 2012
Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse
South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

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