Today, the new opera composed by Christian Jost, Rote Laterne (Red Lantern), with a libretto by the composer after Su Tong's Wives and Cocubines, will be performed in Zurich.
It is the composers's eighth opera, since Death Knocks in 2001. His operas include Hamlet (2008), Mikropolis (2010), Rumor (2011) and Heart Sutra (2012, video available on YouTube).
the story of a young woman who is married off into a traditional Chinese family as the fourth and youngest wife and perishes as the result of their backward attitudes. Four wives of different generations live under one roof with their husband, Master Chen, and form a hopelessly catastrophic ménage à cinq. The piece is about female desire and social constraints, dreams, emotional self-determination, domination, envy, jealousy and death. (reproduced from the Zurich Opera house website)The cast includes Shelley Jackson (soprano, Song-Lian), Claudia Boyle (soprano, May-Shan), Nora Gubisch (mezzo, Zhuo-Yun), Liliana Nikiteanu (alto, Yu-Ru), Rod Gilfry (baritone, Master Chen) and Anna Goryachova (mezzo, Yen-Er). Alain Altinoglu conducts and Nadja Loschky directs.
The orchestra is the following :
- 2 flutes (II. also alt flute), 1 oboe, 1 English horn, 1 clarinet, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon ;
- 4 horns, 1 tuba ;
- 6 percussionists : vibraphone, marimba, chimes, 3 cymbals, Chinese cymbal, 6 tomtoms, 2 timpani, bass drum, 2 woodblocks ;
- harp, solo violin, strings
The opera should last about 1 hour and 45 minutes.