A Laugh to Cry explores some primary concerns, which have always haunted human beings, and reveals them from the perspective of our contemporary globalized world. The opera is shaped like a meditation on the hegemonic power of the destruction of memory, the devastation of the Earth and even the collapse of humanity. It evolves in the fringes between dream and reality, between the visible and invisible. It is divided in several acts where five characters, two sopranos, one bass and two narrators (a female and a male voice), live and dwell constantly between these two parallels. It also involves 7 acoustic instruments: flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion; as well as live-electronics and extended video scenography.

A Laugh to Cry is a metaphysical theatre embodying eternal archetypes with music and multilingual libretto by Miguel Azguime.

A Laugh to Cry pursues Miguel Azguime’s goal, as poet and composer, to grasp an ideal balance between language and music, to merge the language’s semantic and metaphorical components with its sonic values, in order to achieve his concept of “speech as music and music as speech”. A Laugh to Cry extends Miguel Azguime’s research on voice analysis, re-synthesis and processing, aiming at creating a dynamic continuum between timbre, harmony, rhythm and voice spectra.



A Laugh to Cry – multilingual libretto by Miguel Azguime (pdf)

A Laugh to Cry – libretto by Miguel Azguime | English translation (pdf)

A Laugh to Cry – libretto by Miguel Azguime | Polish translation by Jakub Szczypa (pdf)


Miguel Azguime (Portugal) – music and text composition, performance & concept

Paula Azguime (Portugal) – art director, video composition & concept

Frances M. Lynch (UK) – soprano

Nicholas Isherwood (USA / France) – bass baritone

Marina Pacheco (Portugal) – soprano

Ágata Mandillo (Portugal) – speaker

Miguel Azguime (Portugal) – speaker

Petter Sundkvist (Sweden) – conductor

Norrbotten NEO (Sweden) – flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion

Photographs of “anonymous bushes” by João Cutileiro, kindly granted by the author

Sílvia Real (Portugal) – elements of choreography


André Perrotta (Brazil) – technology director | CITAR researcher

Andre Bartetzki (Germany) – live electronics development

Perseu Mandillo (Portugal) – VFX | 3D & photography

André Baltazar (Portugal) – motion capture | CITAR researcher

Atalaia 31 (Portugal) – wardrobe

Miso Studio (Portugal) – technology

A Laugh to Cry is a commission by the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, with the friendly support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

A Laugh to Cry is a co-production of the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music (Poland), the Norrbottensmusiken / Norrbotten NEO (Sweden), the São Luiz Municipal Theatre (Portugal), and the Miso Music Portugal

Special collaboration for research and technological implementation by researchers at the Center for Research in Science and Arts Technology (CITAR), Portuguese Catholic University in Oporto

With the support of Secretaria de Estado da Cultura / Direcção Geral das Artes, the Goethe-Institut Portugal, Instituto Camões / Embassy of Portugal in Warsaw, Embassy of Sweden in Lisbon & Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and the Portuguese Institute for Ocean and Atmosphere

Cork fabric by Amorim




with the friendly support of











promotion of the avant-première



A Laugh to Cry

New Op-Era Project

WORLD-PREMIERE: September 27 at 19h30, Praga Koneser Center, Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, Poland

TOUR IN SWEDEN: October 10-16, 2013
Ocrober 10: Performance # 1 – Piteå

October 12: Performance # 2 –  Pajala

October 14: Performance # 3 – Umeå

October 16: Performance # 4 –  Sundsvall

AVANT-PREMIÈRE: July 17 & 18, 2013
São Luiz Municipal Theatre in Lisbon

Photo Gallery from the world-premiere un Warsaw

Warsaw Autumn 2013 Archive | photo: Grzegorz Mart

Warsaw Autumn 2013 Archive | photo: Grzegorz Mart