If I Saw Tilda Swinton's Dogs Performing an Opera on the Beach, I'd Run Away


Where did Tilda Swinton acquire so many English Springer Spaniels? Why do they all look exactly the same, mostly white with some natural variations in spots, but the same identical black eyes and nose and those drooping ears? Are any of these dogs twins? Are any of them clones? Has Swinton trained them to run around to arias a lot or just like, maybe one other time besides this? These are the questions that arise in my head, slowly like one of Swinton’s dogs emerging out of the ocean with the tide, as I watch this perplexing and frankly chilling video.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the six-minute video was co-directed by Swinton and her partner Sandro Kopp and was shot for an art project put on in part by Anthony Roth Costanzo, who is also the man singing the aria used in the video. That’s all nice. Except that the sight of Swinton’s dogs mobilizing in unison as if entranced by the magic of opera fills me with terror and will almost certainly haunt my dreams sometime within the next two weeks.

The problem is that these dogs running along the beach DOES really match up well with the music, and I BELIEVE they are cast in an opera of some kind, or at least, that they could be. I think if operas were performed by dogs at the Met, or something, I would definitely go—but stumbling upon this scene in the wild would make me feel like I’d stepped in to another world and make me instinctively try to retreat. I wonder how long it took Swinton and Kopp to film this, and if there are outtakes. I am quite positive I would not like to see them, if there are.

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