Release Date: October 13, 2017
Catalog #: NV6124
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Stage Works

Loose, Wet, Perforated

A Morality Play In Four Ordeals

Nicholas Vines composer
Guerilla Opera

Composer Nicholas Vines’ surreal opera Loose, Wet, Perforated comes to life in this Navona Records release. Commissioned by the Boston-based experimental opera company Guerilla Opera, and premiered in 2011, this recording coincides with a new production of Loose, Wet, Perforated that involves video projection and audience interaction.

The work, whose libretto was also written by Vines, is a satirical and metaphorical take on the medieval genre of the morality play. Described by Vines and Guerilla Opera as “American Idol meets The Hunger Games meets The Price is Right”, the story follows the trials of two protagonists, ‘Loose’ and ‘Wet’. As the aforementioned description suggests, this is no ordinary story. The morality play’s context is bizarre   – Loose and Wet are competing to ascend within a secret organization, and at stake is the possibility of fame and fortune, or total isolation.

The staged production’s sets, costumes, and, in particular, video projection underscore the opera’s dark humor and absurdism. With these elements inaccessible on the audio recording, the listener is still transported into the opera’s world by Vines’ enthralling score and libretto. Of course, the narrative’s clarity in the recording testifies to the excellent vocal performances by Guerilla Opera’s Alana de la Guardia (‘Loose’), Brian Church (‘Wet’), Doug Dodson (‘Perforated’), and Thea Lobo (Various). The recording’s evocative scene-setting comes primarily from Vines’ instrumental score, which employs the unusual ensemble of clarinet, saxophone, trombone, and percussion.

This quartet produces an incredible array of sounds and moods, enabling Vines to convey every emotion of his strange and symbolic story. Perhaps the most memorable musical idea in the work occurs at the beginning and end of the opera, when, in accompaniment of expository text, Vines scores a web of moaning pitch bends for his three wind instruments. This material is particularly visceral and poignant, and helps establish the fact that, though lessons from Loose, Wet, Perforated may apply to our reality, the opera takes place in a world very different from ours.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Artist Information

Nicholas Vines


Described as “exquisite” (Gramophone), “riveting” (The New York Times), “arresting” (The Boston Globe), “compellingly original” (Boston Phoenix), “full, extravagant and wild” (Sydney Morning Herald), and “edgy, bright and entertaining as hell” (NewMusicBox), the works of Nicholas Vines (b.1976, Sydney) have been performed by the likes of Alarm Will Sound, BMOP, Ensemble Offspring, the Schola Cantorum Gedanesis Chamber Choir, the BT Scottish Ensemble and the Australian Piano Quartet. He has been commissioned by organisations around the world, such as Acacia Quartet, Callithumpian Consort, Firebird Ensemble, mmm…, Guerilla Opera, ChamberMade Opera, Ensemble Apex, the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and various Sydney schools.

Guerilla Opera


Guerilla Opera is one of Boston’s most exciting young companies creating brave new works. Founded in 2007, the ensemble has accumulated a repertoire of 40 new works, which continues to grow, by the most exciting composers of our generation. In daring performances, they have garnered a national reputation for innovative contemporary opera, with the Boston Globe raving that “radical exploration remains the cornerstone of everything it does.”

Aliana de la Guardia


The Arts Fuse lauds de la Guardia’s sound as “lovely, natural” and “as clear and powerful as grain alcohol.” As an active soprano vocalist, Aliana de la Guardia has garnered acclaim for her “dazzling flights of virtuosity” (Gramophone) in “vocally fearless” performances that are “fizzing with theatrical commitment” (The Boston Globe). A graduate of the Boston Conservatory and consummate interpreter of new classical concert repertoire, she has enjoyed collaborations with many ensembles featuring today’s most eminent composers including “Scenes from a Novel” and “Kafka Fragments” with violinist Gabriela Diaz by György Kurtág, “Aspen Suite” by Salvatore Sciarrino,“Nenia: the Death of Orpheus” by Harrison Birtwistle conducted by Jeffery Means, and the world premiere of “Earth Songs” by Ronald Perrera with New England Philharmonic, among others.