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Tora Bora title

An Opera in Three Acts

Tora Bora Film Poster

It's a Film

It's an Artist Book

Tora Bora is a reverse engineered opera. The Seventeenth Century etcher Jacques Callot’s illustrations of scenes from operas inspired the thought—what if all that remained of an opera were etchings from a few scenes? How, for example, would the Magic Flute be reconstructed from that? With this in mind Art Hazelwood and Klaus-Ullrich Rötzscher began this collaboration.

Art Hazelwood engraved the six scenes from the opera Tora Bora. Tora Bora is the name of a mountain cave complex at the center of Afghan contemporary history. The CIA funded the expansion of the caves there to help the Mujahideen fight the Soviets. The Taliban used them, and it was Osama Bin Laden’s last known address, from where he escaped capture by the US. Even now poppy production and Taliban activity is rampant in this rugged mountain area twenty miles from the Pakistan border.

The opera is presented in a fold out stage with screen printed covers. The viewer moves through the various scenes of the opera while reading the storyline and lyrics in an accompanying booklet and using seven puppets to enact the scenes. Should a full scale opera appear it will be staged on a larger stage.

This fold out boxed opera with seven puppets, six engravings and a letterpress booklet of storyline, in an edition of twenty is $2,500.

Tora Bora - The Opera

Tora Bora - The Opera
image: Cover, Tora Bora, An Opera in Three Acts, screenprint, engraving, letterpress, 2011, when closed 14 x 14 x 2 inches.

Art Hazelwood has created a wide range of book arts projects from large scale to intimate, from literary to political. His prints and books are in many collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Library of Congress, Arts of the Book Collection, Yale University Library, Stanford Special Collections, and the Center for the Study of political Graphics.

Klaus-Ullrich Rötzscher is owner of Pettingell Book Bindery in Berkeley. He has created book projects with Jacob Samuel Editions, Lapis Press and Eastside Editions, making books for artists including Sam Francis, Rebecca Horn, Anish Kapoor, Richard Long and Ed Ruscha, among others.

Tora Bora - The Opera

Tora Bora Libretto Tora Bora Libretto

Examples from the libretto