Cartier’s Perfumer Creates Scents for ‘Prometheus’ Music

Cartier’s Perfumer Creates Scents for ‘Prometheus’ Music

“PROMETHEUS” PERFORMANCES are already rare, and even rarer is one that aims for synesthetic experience. Often, the score stands alone. When colors are added, it is almost always through lighting design. Salonen has conducted the piece twice before: once without added effects, and once in what he described as “a sort of disco” production that he found too coarse for the music.

One day, he received a dinner invitation from Thibaudet, who pitched his and Laurent’s ideas for “Prometheus.” Salonen quickly realized that Laurent’s ideas weren’t just a gimmick — indeed, that they were “serious business,” he said — and decided to “hop on the train, because it seemed to be a good one to hop on.”

Salonen is prone to this kind of hopping as one of the most technologically curious conductors today. He turned Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” into a video and sound installation that embedded audience members throughout the orchestra; has experimented with virtual reality; and, a decade ago, starred in an Apple ad campaign that showed how thoroughly entwined the iPad, then still young, was with his work. By the time Apple released its Vision Pro early this month, he had already tried it and was beginning to think about how to apply it to classical music.

He has also embraced the use of video projections in concerts, which can be divisive. When the eye is focused on a screen, it is not focused on the orchestra, and vice versa. Works that incorporate visual elements inevitably result in a competition of the senses.

“Prometheus” is different. Salonen described it as “a collaboration of senses” that Laurent said was rooted in science. Through the neurological research she has tracked over the years, she has learned that scent and sight activate different regions of the brain. “Olfaction goes directly to amygdala and hippocampus, and it is not going to cortex,” she said. “It is not going to the reason. It is going just to the gut, the fear, the instinct, and also to the memory.”

The trick, at Davies Hall in October, was to get the senses activated at the same time. The engineers that Laurent worked with, Yves Cotarmanac’h and Yvan Regeard of Agence Desind, developed the vortexes, which disperse the fragrances with theatrical flair, and the diffusers, which accomplish much of the same without being seen. The scents are non-aerosol, meaning dry, so that they won’t linger or bleed into one another.

Source Link

You may also like

Leave a Comment