Today, the Opéra national de Lyon presents the world première performance of GerMANIA, an opera in 2 acts and 10 scenes composed by Alexander Raskatov, with a libretto by the composer based on Heiner Müller's plays Germania Death in Berlin (1978) and Germania 3 Ghosts at Dead Man (1995).
It is the composer's third opera after The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) and A Dog's Heart (first performed in Amsterdam on June 7, 2010, and then produced in Lyon on January 20, 2014.
This dramatic and satirical opera plunges the audience into a turning point era of the 20th century, when two totalitarian regimes, Nazism and Communism, confront each other. In this panorama of Germany, from the World War I to the reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall, thirty-seven characters will appear on stage, among whom Hitler, Stalin and Goebbels. (freely adapted from the Opéra de Lyon website)The cast includes tenor James Kryshak (Hitler), bass Genaddy Bezzubenkov (Stalin, Gagarin), baritone Ville Rusanen (Goebbels), soprano Sophie Desmars, countertenor Andrew Watts and baritone Boram Kim. Alejo Pérez conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra de Lyon. John Fulljames directs.
The required orchestra is the following (reproduced from the programme book) :
- 3 flutes (doubling piccolo and alto flute), 2 oboes (doubling English horn), 3 clarinets in B (doubling E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet), 1 tenor saxophone, 1 baritone saxophone, 2 bassoons (doubling contrabassoons) ;
- 4 horns (doubling tenor and bass Wagner tubas) ; 4 trumpets ; 1 bass trumpet, 3 trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba ;
- 7 percussion players ;
- 1 harp, 1 piano, 1 celesta, 1 electric guitar, 1 bass guitar ;
- 4 horns, 4 trumpets and 4 trombones in the auditorium.
The performance should last about 2 hours and 30 minutes.