Sunday, 9 November 2014

Today : World première of 'Gesualdo Shadows' by Bo Holten in Copenhagen

Today, Bo Holten's new opera, Gesualdo - Shadows, with a libretto by Eva Sommestad Holten, will be performed for the first time in Copenhagen, on the small stage of the Opera House, the 'black box' theater, also known as Takkelloftet.

It is the composer's third opera after Maria Paradis (the story of a pianist child prodigy, contemporary of Mozart, who became blind at the age of four and was treated by Doctor Mesmer and his magnetism), and The Visit of the Royal Physician (published on DVD by Dacapo). It seems to be a new version of the 2003 work Gesualdo - Fyrste - Musiker - Morder.
We follow Carlo Gesualdo from his emotional youth in Naples to a time of artistic fervour in Ferrara and an old age of hardships, beauty, mystery and melancholy, confined to his princely palace on a mountaintop in the town of Gesualdo in Southern Italy. The story is a psychological drama about a time when art flourished, while society was scourged by reckless violence. (reproduced from the Danish Royal Theater's website)

The opera has been composed for a baroque orchestra consisting of oboe, 2 trombones, lute (theorbo), harpsichord (organ) and strings. It should last about 2 hours. It will be performed by Gert Henning-Jensen (Gesualdo), Ann-Christine Wesser Ingels (Léonora d'Este), Guido Paevatalu (Duke Alfonso of Ferrara), Jesper Buhl (Alfonso Fontanelli), Tor Lind (Shadow) and Hanna Kappelin (Maria D'Avalos). The composer will conduct the vocal ensemble Musica Ficta and the Concerto Copenhagen. Deda Cristina Colonna will direct.

It is at least the third opera to be composed after the famous Renaissance composer, after Alfred Schnittke's Gesualdo first performed at the Vienna State Opera in May 1995 and Marc-André Dalbavie's opera with the same title first performed in Zurich in October 2010.

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