sandro kopp and tilda swinton
Photograph by Jeff Vespa via Getty Images.

Tilda Swinton & Sandro Kopp Present an Opera Music Video Starring Their Dogs

Watch the film on GARAGE.

There are many of us in the world who, upon waking up, light a stick of incense or a beautiful taper candle and utter a Buddhist chant or hum a complex hymn to the magic of Sandro Kopp and Tilda Swinton.

Swinton and Kopp are continually blessing us with projects that remind us that there is still delirious and odd beauty in our world—for example, the music video they’ve directed together for the aria “Rompi I lacci” (“break the laces”) from Handel’s Flavio. In the film, Swinton and Kopp’s dogs—Rosy, Dora, Louis, Dot, Snowbear (“Snaubert”), and a friend of the family named Patti—romp on the beaches of the Scottish Highlands, where the couple lives, in an entrancing slow-motion choreography, leaping for a mysterious treat.

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“They are a dynasty of Springer spaniels,” Swinton and Kopp wrote in an email. “Grandmother, great aunt, mother, uncle, and son.”

The video is part of a project by Visionaire that includes nine original music videos of songs from ARC, the new album by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo (a big name for real opera heads). Other video directors for the project include Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, Rupert Sanders, and Mickalene Thomas. The music videos will be screened in late November at New York’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine called Glass Handel; on his album, Costanzo performs alongside compositions by Philip Glass and George Handel. (Between this and the use of Glass’s music at the Marc Jacobs show, 2018 has been a great year for Philip Glass and opera!)

Kopp and Swinton wrote that they began filming their dogs “so that when we’re on planes, in cars and in hotel rooms around the world, we can nudge each other and remind ourselves of the unbridled lust for life and joy that is the essence of our relationship with our dogs and with the Scottish Highlands where we live.”

As for what the rest of us will get out of this mesmerizing moment in cinema, the pair wrote, “The love of a dog nourishes the soul. We hope to share some of this nourishment.”

Finally, they added that “our dogs are some of the greatest teachers possible of the meaning of presence, kindness, enthusiasm, gratitude, individuality and sense of proper perspective. They are our North Stars.” In Canem Spiramus, friends!

Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story misspelled Anthony Roth Costanzo’s middle name as “Ross.”