Saturday, 27 July 2019

Today : world première of 'The Thirteenth Child' by Poul Ruders in Santa Fe

Today, the Santa Fe Opera presents the world première of The Thirteenth Child, a fairytale opera in two acts composed by Poul Ruders with a libretto by Becky and David Starobin inspired by the Brothers Grimm.

It is the composer's fifth opera after Tycho (1986), The Handmaid's Tale (Copenhagen, March 6, 2000), Kafka's Trial (Copenhagen, March 12, 2005) and Selma Jezkova (Copenhagen, September 5, 2010).
Forget about magic beans and bowls of porridge — this fairy tale is a “down-to-the-wire” thriller, inspired by the Brothers Grimm. A paranoid king banishes his twelve sons in favor of Lyra, the thirteenth child. When Princess Lyra learns about her long-lost brothers, she embarks on a quest to find them. Like all the best fairy tales, it has an enchanted forest, riddles, a handsome prince, a horrible mistake, and a nearly impossible feat for Princess Lyra to perform if everything is to be put right. (reproduced from the Santa Fe Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Jessica E. Jones (Lyra), mezzo Tamara Mumford (Queen Gertrude), tenor Joshua Dennis (Frederic), bass baritone Bradley Garvin (Drokan) and bass David Leigh (King Hjarne). Paul Daniel conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Santa Fe Opera. Darko Tresnjak directs.

The performance should last 90 minutes. The venue is the Crosby Theatre.

The full and vocal scores, as well as a recording, are already available for sale. The publisher is Edition Wilhelm Hansen. Since last April, I have the full score in my collection. It is a 230 pages volume. It contains a characters list, a detailed synopsis and the following orchestra setting :

- 2 clarintes in Bb (1st doubling bass clarinet in Bb, 2nd doubling contrabass clarinet in Bb), 2 saxophones (1st soprano in Bb doubling alto in Eb, 2nd alto in Eb doubling baritone in Eb) ; 2 bassoons ;
- 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in Bb, 2 trombones, tuba ;
- 2 percussion, harp, piano (digital or upright for small pits) ;
- 3 full range (7-octaves synthesizers), touch sensitive and with volume slide/knob ;
- strings : for large pits minimum 10-8-6-4-2, for small pits 2 of each.

The opera was composed in 2014-15 and the full score is copyrighted 2016.

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