Sunday 25 September 2022

Today : world première of 'Until the Lions' by Thierry Pécou in Strasbourg

Today, the Opéra National du Rhin presents the world première of Until the Lions : Echoes from the Mahabharata, an opera in three acts composed by Thierry Pécou, with a libretto in English by Karthika Naïr based on her own book.

It is the composer's third opera after Les Sacrifiées (2007) and L'Amour coupable (2008).
Until the Lions gives voice to the women who have suffered most from rivalries, destruction, war, the violence of power and patriarchal domination. (reproduced from the Opéra national du Rhin website)

The cast includes actress Fiona Tong (Satyavati), bass baritone Cody Quattlebaum (Bheeshma) and contralto Noa Frenkel (Amba). Marie Jacquot conducts the Orchestre syphonique de Mulhouse. Shobana Jeyasingh directs.

Originally planned on March 21, 2020, the performances were cancelled due to COVID.

Saturday 10 September 2022

Today : world première of Antony and Cleopatra by John Adams in San Francisco


Today, the San Francisco Opera presents the world première of the new opera (in 2 acts and 9 scenes) composed by John Adams, Antony and Cleopatra. The libretto, written by the composer, is based on William Shakespeare's play, with supplementary passages from Putarch, Virgil and other classical texts, adapted with the help of Elkhanah Pulitzer and Lucia Scheckner.

(c) Christine Alicino

It is the composer's 9th opera, after, among others, Nixon in China (Houston, TX, October 22, 1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (Brussels, March 19, 1991), Doctor Atomic (San Francisco, October1st, 2005) and Girls of the Golden West (San Francisco, November 21, 2017).

A Roman general and an Egyptian queen embark on a torrid romance, one that will disrupt alliances, end marriages, and spark a pitiless war that gives rise to a new leader, Caesar (reproduced from the San Francisco Opera website).

The cast includes soprano Amina Edris (Cleopatra), bass-baritone Gerald Finley (Antony), tenor Paul Appleby (Caesar), bass-baritone Alfred Walker (Enobarbus), mezzo Elizabeth DeShong (Octavia) and tenor Brenton Ryan (Eros). Eun Sun Kim conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Elkhanah Pulitzer directs.

The orchestral setting is the following (according to the PDF programme book available online) :
- 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 1 English horn, 1 Eb clarinet, 2 Bb clarinet, 1 bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, 4 horns ;
- 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 1 timpani, 3 percussion, 2 harps, 1 celesta, 1 cimbalom
- 40 strings (12 first violins, 9 second violins, 7 violas, 7 cellos, 5 basses)
- chorus

The score is published by Boosey & Hawkes. The performance should last about 3 hours, including one intermission. The venue is the War Memorial Opera House.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Today : world première of Jörn Arnecke's Welcome to Paradise Lost in Weimar


Today, the Nationaltheater Weimar presents the world première of Welcome to Paradise Lost, a new opera composed by Jörn Arnecke with a libretto by Falk Richter after Farid ud-Din Attar's The Conference of the Birds.

It is the composer's 14th work for the stage. His previous operas include Das Fest im Meer (Hamburg, 17 June 2003) Kryos (Bremen, 14 May 2011) Ronja Räubertochter (Duisburg, 26 February 2015) and The Frost Flower Forest (Weimar, 21 May 2019).

The humans are visited by a flock of birds that denounce our political, cultural, socio-economic and ecological transgressions. The birds urge humans both to journey toward themselves and to reach a global agreement to finally change the devastating conditions. The libretto takes on the explosive sociopolitical issues of turbo-capitalism, climate change and the destruction of nature : What are we willing to give up ? What are we losing ?
It focuses on the confrontation between the current supporters and profiteers of the self-destructive system and the youthful protest movements that radically question their way of life. The spectators become involved in a kind of passion play and make their own pilgrimage through the various rooms of the e-werk Weimar. (reproduced from the Kunstfest Weimar website)
The cast includes soprano Ylva Sofia Stenberg (Knabe), contralto Noa Frenkel (Ältere Frau), soprano Heike Porstein (Frau 1) contralto Sarah Mehnert (Frau 2), tenor Alexander Günther (Mann 1) and baritone Alik Abdukayumov (Mann 2). Andreas Wolf conducts the Musiktheaterensemble and a choir of fifteen young people. Andrea Moses directs.

The performance should last about 90 minutes. The venue is e-werk Weimar.

Saturday 21 May 2022


Today, the Landestheater Linz presents the world première of Unter dem Gletscher (Under the Glacier), an opera in three parts composed by Michael Obst, with a libretto by Hermann Schneider after the novel Kristnihald undir Jökli by Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness.

 It is the composer's fourth opera after Solaris (Munich, December 4, 1996), Caroline (Weimar, July 10, 1999) and Die andere Seite (Würzburg, September 25, 2010).

At the foot of the Snæfell Glacier, a parish priest is neglecting his pastoral duties, so the rumour goes, which leads a young clergyman from Reykjavík to the Icelandic province on behalf of the church authorities. What awaits him there, however, is far more complicated: a priest who would rather repair camping cookers than preach, an immeasurably wealthy and influential big businessman and three shepherds who speak of the miracles of revival and seem to need little reality are only the beginning of a wondrous and enigmatic story about a society between popular belief and modernity. (reproduced from the Landestheater Linz website)

The cast includes mezzo Anna Alàs i Jové (Vebi), bass Dominik Nekel (Tumi Jonson), mezzo Vaida Raginskytė (Mutter Jonson), soprano Tina Josephine Jaeger (Fina Jonson), bass Michael Wagner (Sira Jon), soprano Gotho Griesmeier (Ua), tenor Matthäus Schmidlechner (Helgi) and bass baritone Martin Achrainer (Alfberg). Ingmar Beck conducts the Bruckner Orchester Linz. Hermann Schneider directs.

The performance should last about 3 hours.

Monday 2 May 2022

Today : world première of 'Shirine' by Thierry Escaich in Lyon


Today, the Opéra de Lyon presents the world première of Shirine, an opera in 12 scenes composed by French composer Thierry Escaich, with a libretto by Tahiq Rahimi after Khosrow va Chirin by the 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi.

It is the composer's third opera after Claude (Lyon, March 27, 2013) and Point d'orgue (Paris, March 5, 2021).

An Armenian princess, very modern in her outlook and a figure of empowerment, falls head over heels in love with Khosrow, and it is this story of impossible love, with all its twists and turns, that is recounted in this world première. (reproduced from the Opéra de Lyon website)

The cast includes soprano Jeanne Gérard (Shirine), tenor Julien Behr (Khosrow), baritone Jean-Sébastien Bou (Chapour), tenor Stephen Mills (Chiroya), countertenor Théophile Alexandre (Nakissa) and mezzo Majdouline Zerari (Chamira). Franck Ollu conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra de Lyon. Richard Brunel directs. The performance should last 1hour and 45 minutes. No interval.

The required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- timpani, percussions (2 performers), piano, harp ;
- 1 nai pan flute, 1 duduk, 1 qanun.

The score is published by Billaudot.

Sunday 3 April 2022

Today : world première of 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Stefan Wirth in Zürich

Today, the Opernhaus Zürich presents the world première of Girl with a Pearl Earring, an opera composed by Stefan Wirth with a libretto in English by Philip Littell based on Tracy Chevalier's novel.

It is the composer's first opera.
Griet, daughter of an impoverished family in Delft, is employed in Jan Vermeer’s household as a servant girl. Forced to work hard and bullied by the Vermeer children, when cleaning the artist’s studio she is the only one who gains an insight into the mystery of the artist’s colours, light and perspectives. When Vermeer’s patron, the lecher Pieter van Ruijven, orders a painting of the maid as a portrait study, Griet starts spending more and more time alone with the artist in his studio. Until Vermeer’s wife notices the servant girl wearing her pearl earring… (reproduced from the Zurich Opera House website)
The cast includes soprano Lauren Snouffer (Griet), baritone Thomas Hampson (Jan Vermeer), soprano Laura Aikin (Catharina Vermeer), soprano Liliana Nikiteanu (Maria Thins), baritone Yannick Debus (Pieter) and alto Irène Friedli (Tanneke). Peter Rundel conducts the Philharmonia Zürich. Ted Huffman directs.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Today : world première of 'Les Éclairs' by Philippe Hersant in Paris

Today, the Opéra Comique in Paris presents Les Éclairs, an opera composed by Philippe Hersant, with a libretto by Jean Echenoz after his own novel.


It is the composer's third opera after Le Château des Carpathes (Montpellier, October 27, 1993) and Le Moine noir (Leipzig, May 6, 2006).

When he arrives in New York in 1884, Gregor is inhabited by his visions. He wants to develop the uses of electricity in a revolutionary way. But science interests him more than profit. Industrialists loot him and mislead his inventions. He will take refuge in the spectacle of lightning and the company of birds.(freely adapted from the Opéra Comique website)

The cast includes baritone Jean-Christophe Lanièce (Gregor), mezzo Marie-Andrée Bouchard-Lesieur (Ethel), tenor François Rougier (Norman), soprano Elsa Benoit (Betty), baritone André Heyboer (Edison) and baritone Jérôme Boutillier (Parker). Ariane Matiakh conducts the Aedes Chorus and the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Clément Hervieu-Léger directs.

The performance should last 1 hour and 45 minutes, no interval.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

New programme book in my collection : Copeland's 'Electric Saint' in Weimar

Yesterday, I have received the programme book published by the Deutsches Nationaltheater in Weimar for the world première of Stewart Copeland's Electric Saint.


It is a 4 pages brochure. It contains :

- synopsis ;
- biographies of composer Stewart Copeland and librettist Jonathan Moore ;
- complete cast and crew.

Attached was a special issue of Die deutsche Bühne, 24 pages entirely dedicated to this new opera.

I have catalogued all my 2185 programme books on LibraryThing.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Today : world première of Kris Defoort's 'The Time of Our Singing' in Brussels

Today, the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels presents the world première of The Time of Our Singing, an opera composed by Kris Defoort with a libretto in English by Peter van Kraaij, after Richard Powers' novel.


It is the composer's third opera after The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (Brussels, November 23rd, 2001) and House of the Sleeping Beauties (Brussels, May 8th, 2009).

Black Lives Matter, police brutality, rigged elections : these are themes that have remained at the forefront of current affairs over the past year. The work depicts the life of a mixed-race family that is both united and divided by music, against the backdrop of segregation in the post-war United States. The composer conjures an imaginary space in which official history and personal histories intertwine, in which people come together to weave a narrative, and in which jazz and classical music are enriched by one another. (reproduced from the Monnaie website)

The cast includes soprano Claron McFadden (Delia Daley), bas baritone Mark S. Doss (William Daley), bass baritone Simon Bailey (David Strom), tenor Levy Sekgapane (Jonah), baritone Peter Brathwaite (Joey) and jazz singer Abigail Abraham (Ruth). Kwamé Ryan conducts the La Monnaie Chamber orchestra, a jazz quartet and La Monnaie's Children's and Youth Choir.

A recording of the performances will be broadcast by Klara and Musiq3 on November 6.

Saturday 11 September 2021

Today : world première of 'Évariste Galois' by Fabien Barcelo in Saint-Léger-du-Ventoux

Today, the Festival Soirées Lyriques du Ventoux presents the world première of Évariste Galois, la nuit tragique, an opera composed by Fabien Barcelo with a libretto by Bruno Alberto.

It is the composer's second opera after Ixibab, le dessein des dieux (Aix-en-Provence, May 20, 2017). 

Évariste Galois was a romantic genius, a mathematician who died in a duel for love at the age of 20, in 1832. The night before his death he hastily wrote his mathematical testament, which took 15 years to demonstrate his first hypotheses. He is also one of the thinkers of the Revolution of 1830 and 1848. (freely adapted from the website of the Orchestre d'Avignon)

The cast includes baritone Mikhael Piccone (Évariste), soprano Chrystelle Di Marco (Stéphanie), mezzo Lucie Roche (Berthe), tenor Valentin Thill (Antoine), baritone Matthis Jacquot (Pescheux) and baritone François Harismendy (Coachman / Judge). Quentin Hindley conducts the Orchestre National Avignon-Provence and the Opera Grand Avignon Chorus.

The concert performance should last about 90 minutes. The venue is Le jardin Singulier in Saint-Léger-du-Ventoux.

Sunday 5 September 2021

Today : world première of Stewart Copeland's opera 'Electric Saint' in Weimar


 Today, the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar presents the world première of Electric Saint, an opera composed by Stewart Copeland with a libretto by Jonathan Moore.

It is the composer's fourth opera after Tell Tale Heart (London, April 8th, 2011), The Invention of Morel (Chicago, February 18th, 2017) and Satan's Fall (Pittsburgh, February 7th, 2020).

The opera highlights the rivalry between him and his fellow inventor and competitor Thomas Edison, both pioneers of electrical engineering with diametrically opposed life philosophies. These two central figures were like the Bill Gates or Steve Jobs of our times — the one, a radical genius with an eye for details, and the other, a brilliant inventor, clever businessman and self-marketer. Tesla wanted to make his electrical inventions available to everyone for the benefit of humanity, while Edison was more interested in accumulating wealth. (reproduced from the Deutsches Nationaltheater website)

The cast includes baritone Richard Morrison (Tesla), tenor Jasper Sung (Robert), soprano Emma Moore (Katharine), baritone Oleksandr Pushniak (JP Morgan), baritone Uwe Schenker-Primus (Edison) and tenor Alexander Günther (Westinghouse). Gregor Bühl conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsches Nationaltheater. Jonathan Moore directs.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

New programme book in my collection : 'Paradiese' by Gerd Kühr in Leipzig


Yesterday, I have received the programme book published by the Oper Leipzig for the world première performance of Gerd Kühr's Paradiese.


It is a 40 pages booklet. It contains :

- synopsis ;
- biography of the composer, Gerd Kühr ;
- biography of the librettist, Hans-Ulrich Treichel ;
- Der Sehnsuchtsmotor rattert, discussion with composer Gerd Kühr, librettist Hans-Ulrich Treichel and director Barbora Horakova ;
- Wolfgang Kraushaar : 1968 ;
- Gabriele Gillen : Das Wunder der Liebe, eine kleine Geschichte der sexuellen Revolution ;
- Charles Baudelaire : Die künstlichen Paradiese ;
- Apollodor : Der Mythos von Agaue und Pentheus ;
- Hans-Ulrich Treichel : Berlin - Terra incognita ;

It contains also 16 pages of colour photos of the production. It is entirely in German.

I now have 1996 programme books in my collection, including 664 for contemporary operas. I have catalogued my entire collection on LibraryThing.