High Line Sing

Elizabeth Diller is working on an opera for the High Line

Art East
Diller giving a farewell speech at the the Four Seasons last year. (Courtesy Aislinn Weidele)
Diller giving a farewell speech at the the Four Seasons last year. (Courtesy Aislinn Weidele)

New York architect Elizabeth Diller, a founding partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is working on an opera (yes, an opera) for the High Line. The show is expected to take place in 2019 and has been appropriately coined the Mile Long Opera. Diller will be working with composer David Lang and sound designer Brude Odland for the project.

Diller has been playing with the concept for some years now. According to The Real Deal, Diller said the idea took inspiration from a woman who used to put on her own self-starring cabarets on her fire escapes. Known as the Renegade Cabaret, the shows were a reaction to people who were supposedly encroaching on the privacy of a condo on West 20th Street that looked on to a park.

No other information is currently known about the Mile Long Opera. Diller, though, has worked with Lang in the past. DS+R and Lang produced Musings on a Glass Box which was held at Jean Nouvel’s Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris in 2014. That same year, in an interview with Surface Magazine, Diller gave a hint that an opera was in the works. “We’re working on a large-scale opera, which is really a new kind of urban project,” she said. “We’re really trying to get at the gesamtkunstwerk—the total project.”

Diller doesn’t just have musical aspirations either. Speaking to Architect Magazine also in 2014, she discussed her work with Spike Jonze for the film Her. “In college I’d had a fantasy of being a filmmaker. I’d taken film courses at Cooper Union and then somehow detoured into architecture,” she said. “But the film bug never really left. If I could leave my life for five years, I would love to construct a film from scratch.

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