Thursday, 20 September 2018

Today : world première of 'Sky on Swings' by Lembit Beecher in Philadelphia


Today, the Opera Philadelphia presents the world première of Sky on Swings, a chamber opera by Lembit Beecher with a libretto by Hannah Moscovitch.

© Jamie Jung

It is the composer's fourth opera, after the 'micro opera' In This World, George Is Heartbroken (Toronto, 2012), the chamber operas I Have No Stories To Tell You (New York, 2014) and Sophia's Forest (Philadelphia, September 2017).
Is there any grace in forgetting ? This new chamber opera finds fleeting beauty in memory loss through an unflinching yet uplifting exploration of living with Alzheimer’s disease. (reproduced from the Opera Philadelphia website)
The cast includes mezzo Frederica von Stade (Danny), mezzo Marietta Simpson (Martha), countertenor Daniel Taylor (Ira) and soprano sharleen Joynt (Winnie). Geoffrey MacDonald conducts the Orchestra of Opera Philadelphia. Joanna Settle directs.

The required orchestra is the following (according to the composer's website) :

- 1 clarinet (doubling bass clarinet) ;
- 1 trumpet, 1 trombone ;
- percussion, piano, harp ;
- string quintet.

The performance should last about 80 minutes. The venue is the Perelman Theater.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Today : world première performance of 'The Wall' by Christian Diendorfer in Linz


Today, the Landestheater Linz presents the world première performance of the chamber opera in two acts Die Wand (The Wall), composed by Christian Diendorfer, with a libretto by Hermann Schneider based on Marlen Haushofer's novel.


It is the composer's first opera.
The main character is a 40-something woman whose name the audience never learns. She tries to survive a cataclysmic event: while vacationing in a hunting lodge in the Austrian mountains, a transparent wall has been placed that closes her off from the outside world ; all life outside the wall appears to have died, possibly in a nuclear event. With a dog, a cow, and a cat as her sole companions, she struggles to survive and to come to terms with the situation. Facing fear and loneliness, she writes an account of her isolation without knowing whether or not anyone will ever read it. (reproduced from wikipedia)
The cast includes mezzo soprano Jessica Eccleston (Die Frau), the actress Verena Koch, the dancer Anna Sterbova and baritone Timothy Connor (Der Mann). Jinie Ka conducts the Bruckner Orchester Linz and the chorus of the Landestheater. Eva-Maria Melbye directs.

The venue is the BlackBox Musiktheater. The performance should last about 2 hours.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Today : world première of 'The Hunting Gun' by Thomas Larcher in Bregenz


Today, the Bregenz Festival presents the world première of Das Jagdgewehr (The Hunting Gun), an opera in three acts by Thomas Larcher, with a libretto in German by Friederike Gösweiner, based on Yasushi Inoue's novel translated by Oscar Benl.

© Richard Haughton

It is the composer's first opera.
“Let’s be criminals !”, says the hunter Josuke to his lover Saiko on the beach. His wife Midori watches them and realises her husband is having an affair with her best friend. For more than ten years Midori will not reveal to them that she knows of their relationship. Saiko keeps the secret in her diary, which her daughter Shoko saves from the flames, thus discovering the story. Shoko can’t speak about it with her mother any more, and Saiko has taken the secret to her grave. A poet has been sent this story in the form of three letters, one from each of the women. The author previously wrote a poem about a hunter he had seen only from behind while out hiking; the hunter Josuke recognised himself in the poem. (reproduced from the Bregenz Festival website)
The cast includes tenor Robin Tritschler (Poet), baritone Andrè Schuen (Josuke Misugi), soprano Sarah Aristidou (Shoko), soprano Sophia Burgos (Midori) and mezzo Olivia Vermeulen (Saiko). Michael Boder conducts the Schola Heidelberg and the Ensemble Modern. Karl Markovics directs.

It is the second opera composed after Inoue's novel. The first was composed by French composer Michèle Reverdy and first performed in Reims in 2000.

The venue is the Werkstattbühne of the Festspielhaus.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Today : world première of 'Die Vorübergehenden' by Nikolaus Brass in Munich


Today, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich presents the world première of Die Vorübergehenden (The Passers-By), a music theater in two parts and an epilogue, composed by Nikolaus Brass, with a libretto by the composer, using texts by Tomas Tranströmer, Rose Ausländer and Mahmout Darwish.

 (c) Astrid Ackermann

Since 2012, Nikolaus Brass has composed three musical works for the stage : memory (Munich, 2012), sommertag (Munich, 2014) and earth diver (Ruhrtriennale, 2016).
On the journey called life, The Lover is reminded of various experiences and long-suppressed events. The way we deal with the past and our relentless self-questioning lies at the centre of the opera – here, life is seen as a mesh of fleeting encounters and fragmented relationships. (reproduced from the Bavarian State Opera website)
The cast includes baritone Nikolay Borchev (Der Liebende), soprano Sarah Maria Sun (Die Liebende), countertenor Vasily Khoroshev (Der Schatten), bass baritone Wolfgang Newerla (Vater), mezzo Ulrike Helzel (Mutter) and tenor Ilker Arcayürek (Der Flüchtling / Der Reisende). Marie Jacquot conducts a chamber orchestra. Ludger Engels directs.

The required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes (also piccolo), 2 oboes (also English horn),  2 clarinets (doubling bass clarinet), 2 saxophones (1. soprano and 2. tenor and baritone) ;
- 1 trumpet, 1 horn, 1 trombone ;
- 2 percussionists, accordion ;
- string quintett.

The score is published by Ricordi.

The performance should last about 1 hour and 40 minutes. The venue is the Reithalle.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

New recordings (audio and video) of contemporary operas in my collection


Since August 2017, I have acquired the 36 following recordings of contemporary operas :


- Mark Adamo : Becoming Santa Claus, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, directed by Paul Curran (The Dallas Opera), Blu-Ray ;
- Robert Aldridge : Sister Carrie, conducted by William Boggs (Naxos, American Opera Classics), CD ;
- Louis Andriessen : Theatre of the World, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw (Nonesuch), CD ;


- Mason Bates : The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, conducted by Michael Christie, recorded in Santa Fe (Pentatone), CD ;
- Rupert Bawden : The Sailor's Tale, conducted by Gary Cheung (NMC Recordings), CD ;
- Philippe Boesmans : Pinocchio, conducted by Patrick Davin (cypres), CD ;


- Daniel Börtz : Backanterna, conducted by Kjell Ingebretsen (Caprice), CD ;
- Geoffrey Bush : Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, conducted by Simon Joly (Lyrita), CD ;
- Tom Cipullo : After Life, conducted by Mina Miller (Naxos, American Opera Classics), CD ;



- Brett Dean : Bliss, conducted by Elgar Howarth (ABC Classics), CD ;
- Carlisle Floyd : Wuthering Heights, conducted by Joseph Mechavich (Reference), CD ;
- Philip Glass : The Perfect American, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies (OMM - Orange Mountain Music), CD ;


- Philip Glass : The Trial, conducted by Michael Rafferty (OMM - Orange Mountain Music), CD ;
- Jake Heggie : Great Scott, conducted by Patrick Summers (Erato), CD ;
- Jake Heggie : It's a Wonderful Life, conducted by Patrick Summers (Pentatone), CD ;


- Mikko Heiniö : Eerik XIV, conducted by Leif Segerstam, directed by Erik Söderblom (Turku Music Festival), DVD ;
- Toshio Hosokawa : The Raven, conducted by Kentaro Kawase (Naxos), CD ;
- John Joubert : Jane Eyre, conducted by Kenneth Woods (Somm), CD ;



- Lori Laitman : The Scarlet Letter, conducted by Ari Pelto (Naxos, American Opera Classics), CD ;
- Michaël Levinas : Le Petit prince, conducted by Arie van Beek (Claves), CD ;
- Jukka Linkola : Robin Hood, conducted by Mikko Franck, directed by Lari Heiskanen (Alba), DVD ;


- Missy Mazzoli : Song from the Uproar - The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt, conducted by Steven Osgood (New Amsterdam), CD ;
- Kate Miller-Heidke : The Rabbits, conducted by Isaac Hayward (ABC Classics), CD ;
- Luca Mosca : Signor Goldoni, conducted by Andrea Molino, directed by Davide Livermore (Dynamic), DVD ;



- Robert Paterson : Three Way, with the Nashville Opera conducted by Dean Williamson (AMR), CD ;
- Ned Rorem : Our Town, conducted by Gil Rose (New World), CD ;
- Edward Rushton : The Shops, conducted by Patrick Bailey (NMC Recordings), CD ;



- Kaija Saariaho : Only the Sound Remains, conducted by André de Ridder, directed by Peter Sellars (Erato), Blu Ray ;
- Eric Sawyer : Our American Cousin, conducted by Gil Rose (Boston Modern Orchestra Project), CD ;
- Robert Saxton : The Wandering Jew, conducted by André de Ridder (NMC Recordings), CD ;


- Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini : Edward II, conducted by Thomas Søndergård (Oehms), CD ;
- David Schiff : Gimpel the Fool, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler (Naxos, American Opera Classics), CD ;
- Alessandro Solbiati : Il Suono giallo, with the Teatro Comunal di Bologna conducted by Marco Angius, directed by Franco Ripa di Meana (EMA Vinci), DVD ;


- Gregory Spears : Fellow Travelers, with the Cincinnati Opera conducted by Mark Gibson (Fanfare Cincinnati), CD ;
- Conrad Susa : The Dangerous Liaisons, with the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, conducted by George Manahan (Albany), CD ;
- Alfons Karl Zwicker : Der Tod und das Mädchen, conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer (MGB - Musiques Suisses), CD.

I have catalogued all my collection of opera recordings on librarything.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Today : first staged performance of 'Pushkin' by Konstantin Boyarsky at Grange Park


Today, the Grange Park Opera in West Horsley presents the first staged performance of Pushkin, an opera in two acts by Konstantin Boyarsky, with a libretto in English by Marita Phillips, great-great-great-granddaughter of Alexander Pushkin, his wife Natalya and Tsar Nicolas I.


It is the composer's first opera.
The opera tells the story of two giants in Russia’s tumultuous history : the nation’s Poet, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin and the nation’s Tsar, Nicholas I. Their relationship begins with mutual need and mutual admiration and ends in the tragic death of Pushkin. (reproduced from the opera website)
The opera was first performed in concert on February 4, 2017 by Novaya Opera Theater, in Moscow, as part of the epiphany Festival.

The cast includes tenor Peter Auty (Pushkin), baritone Artyom Garnov (Tsar Nicholas I), soprano Julietta Avanesyan (Natalya), mezzo Irina Romishevskaya (Catherine), mezzo Anna Sinitsyna (Alexandrine) and tenor Yaroslav Abaimov (Barton Heckeren). Jan Latham-Koenig conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of Novaya Opera. Igor Ushalov directs.

The performance should last about 3:30 hours, including one intermisson.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Today : world première of 'Seven Stones' by Ondrej Adamek in Aix-en-Provence


Today, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence presents the world première of Seven Stones, an 'opera for 4 soloists and 12 choir singers playing instruments and objects', by Ondřej Adámek, with a libretto in English by Icelandic poet Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson (also known as Sjón).


It is the composer's first opera.
A mineralogist-collector who has got lost down a snowy lane remembers: many years earlier, he had gone in search of the first stone – the one that was almost used to stone to death the adulterous woman who was saved by Christ. During this seven-year long journey that takes him from Buenos Aires to Paris and from Japan to Iceland, the collector discovered many other stones... And the end of his journey leads to the conclusion of his quest – and to tragedy. (reproduced from the Festival website)
The cast includes soprano Anne-Emmanuelle Davy (Maid / Storyteller), soprano Shigeko Hata (Land Lady / Storyteller), baritone Nicolas Simeha (Stone Collector) and singer Landy Andriamboavonjy (Stone Collector's Wife). Ondřej Adámek conducts the Accentus / Axe 21 chorus. Éric Oberdorff directs.

The performance should last about 80 minutes. The venue is the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Today : world première of 'The Skating Rink' by David Sawer in Garsington


Today, the Garsington Opera presents the world première of The Skating Rink, an opera composed by David Sawer, with a libretto by Rory Mullarkey based on the novel by Roberto Bolano.


It is the composer's fourth opera after The Panic (London, May 31, 1991), From Morning to Midnight (London, ENO, April 27, 2001) and Skin Deep (Leeds, Opera North, January 16, 2009).
Nuria, a beautiful young skating champion, has a powerful admirer, Enric, whose obsession drives him to pilfer funds to build her an ice rink in a deserted Spanish mansion. Discovered by an unlikely group of characters, a murder on the ice becomes the centre of this thrilling tale of jealousy, political corruption and the lengths we go to for the ones we love. (reproduced from the Garsington Opera website)
The cast includes bass baritone Grant Doyle (Enric), tenor Sam Furness (Gaspar), baritone Ben Edquist (Remo), mezzo Susan Bickley (Carmen) and soprano Claire Wild (Caridad). Garry Walker conducts the Garsington Opera Orchestra. Stewart Laing directs.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

New programme books in my collection


I have recently acquired several programme books for contemporary operas :


 - John Adams, The Death of Klinghoffer, London (ENO), February 25, 2012.
It is a 98 pages book, with only 48 pages related to the opera. The opera was first performed in Brussels in 1991. I already have programme books from Lyon (1991) and Long Beach (2014).
- John Adams, Doctor Atomic, London (ENO), February 25, 2009.
It is a 78 pages book, with 36 pages related to the opera. The opera was first performed in San Francisco in 2005. I already have programme books from Amsterdam (2007) and Strasbourg (2014).
- Gavin Bryars, Doctor Ox's Experiment, London (ENO), June 15, 1998.
It is a 42 pages brochure. This is the programme for the world première performance.

 
- John Cage, Europeras 1 & 2, Braunschweig, November 25, 2017.
It is a 32 pages brochure. The operas were first performed in Frankfurt in 1987.
- Elliott Carter, What Next ?, München, November 20, 2011.
It is a 40 pages brochure. It also includes a separate 12 pages leaflet with biographies of the artists. The opera was first performed in Berlin in 1999. Puccini's Gianni Schicchi was performed as the first part of a double bill evening. I have another programme for a concert version in Paris in 2000.
- Peter Eötvös, Tri Sestri, München, February 8, 2010.
It is a 44 pages brochure. It also includes a separate 12 pages leaflet with biographies of the artists. The opera was first performed in Lyon in 1998. I have the programme book the the world première and another one for performances at the Wiener Staatsoper in March 2016.

 
- Philip Glass, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, London (ENO), November 17, 1988.
It is a 48 pages brochure. The opera was first performed in Houston in July 1988. The performances in London were the first in Europe.
- Philip Glass, The Perfect American, London (ENO), June 1, 2013.
It is a 76 pages book, with only 38 pages related to the opera. The opera was first performed in Madrid in January 2013. I have the programme book for the world première.
- Iain Hamilton, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, London (ENO), February 2, 1977.
It is a 44 pages brochure. This is the programme for the world première.


- Hans Werner Henze, Die Bassariden, München, May, 19, 2008.
It is a 140 pages book. It also includes a separate 6 pages leaflet with biographies of the artists. The opera was first performed in Salzburg in 1966. I have another programme book for performances in Paris in 2005.
- Helmut Lachenmann, Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern, Hamburg, January 26, 1997.
It is a 48 pages book. This is the programme book for the world première. I already have two other programme books for this opera : Paris in September 2001 and Stuttgart in October 2001.
- Jost Meier, Dreyfus - Die Affäre, Basel, October 16, 1994.
It is a 112 pages book. The opera was first performed in Berlin in May 1994. I have another programme brochure for performances at New York City Opera in April 1996.


- Lucia Ronchetti, Rivale, Braunschweig, October 29, 2017.
It is a 16 pages leaflet. The opera was first performed in Berlin on October 8, 2017. I have the programme book for the world première.
- Poul Ruders, The Handmaid's Tale, London (ENO), April 3, 2003.
It is a 96 pages brochure, with only 40 pages dedicated to the opera. The opera was first performed in Copenhagen in 2000.
- Aulis Sallinen, The King Goes Forth to France, London (Royal Opera House), April 1, 1987.
It is a 72 pages brochures, with only 32 pages dedicated to the opera. The opera was first performed in Savonlinna in 1984.


- Mark Anthony Turnage, Greek, London (ENO), September 27, 1990.
It is a 64 pages brochure. The opera was first performed in München in June 1988. I have two other programme books for this opera : Wuppertal in 1992 and Paris in 2000.
- Mark Anthony Turnage, The Silver Tassie, London (ENO), February 16, 2000.
It is a 96 pages brochure. This is the programme for the world première.
- Rufus Wainwright, Prima Donna, Augsburg, February 3, 2018.
It is a 24 pages brochure. The opera was first performed in Manchester in 2009.

I now have 586 programme books for contemporary operas. I have scanned and uploaded all the covers to this flickr folder.