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An Interactive Chamber Opera
by Michael Park
Diagnosis: Diabetes is the story of Charlie and his life with diabetes.
When first diagnosed, he and parents were hit with an onslaught of information that proves to be too much to handle. While Charlie is too young to understand the complexity of the situation, his parents wrestle with how this changes their lives, and whether or not it’s their fault.
As he grows up, Charlie wrestles with how much he will disclose in his daily life. In what might be the most important meeting of his career, he puts his own health at risk in order to save face in front of his boss and co-workers. On a road trip with one of his oldest friends, he realizes there’s something wrong with his vision. Later, at the eye doctor’s, he is diagnosed with his first real complication. The severity of the diagnosis doesn't even matter – his life is no longer carefree. Charlie is forced to confront whether or not he is willing to make changes to his lifestyle now for the benefit of what seems to be the distant future.
But in Diagnosis: Diabetes, Charlie doesn't have control over what happens next... the audience does! As the world's first interactive opera, the audience answers questions about diabetes as part of their own diabetic experience. How well they do affects Charlie's outcome in each following scene.
Michael Park is a composer and pianist with a keen interest in speech, humour, and collaboration. His music aims to give audiences an experience beyond the realm of traditional concert-going.
Heralded for his innovative projects, his Ted Talk Experiencing Disease Through Music has been described as moving, haunting, and an amazing translation of the disease. In 2013, his opera, Diagnosis: Diabetes was awarded the Gold Medal and BMO Advocacy Award, by the Boston Metro Opera’s International Composer’s Competition.
An accomplished pianist, Michael’s experiences with improvisation and multi-disciplinary collaboration led him to studies in composition. He is a founder and co-director of Art Song Lab, an innovative program that teams composers with poets. He also sits on the board of directors for Vancouver’s Redshift Music Society.