Sunday, 31 May 2015

May 31st, 2015 : world première of Lior Navok's 'An unserem Fluss' in Frankfurt

Today, Lior Navok's new opera, An unserem Fluss (By our river), with a libretto by the composer (translated in German by Kristian Lutze) will be performed in Frankfurt, at the Bockenheimer Depot.

It is Navok's second opera, after The Bet (2012, based on Chekhov).
One country, two nations, a story about uprooting, expulsion, return, freedom and boundaries – and the longing for freedom.
People are on the run. They organise themselves and fight to preserve their identity. 15 year old Lucia is sent to look for water and meets Sipho, who is the same age. She likes him immediately. At their second meeting they realise that he is one of »the others« – the enemy and supposed murderers of her parents. The uncertainty felt by both teenagers is great, but the desire for a future together is stronger. Questions are raised, plans made: at »their river« happiness seems within reach. But how to combat the powers that be? Maintaining a picture of the enemy is necessary for survival and influences how people see themselves. The boundaries between reality and fiction blur. Lucia and Sipho look for a way out of a vicious circle which reaches far beyond the boundaries of countries and national interests. (reproduced from the opera house website)
The cast includes soprano Kateryna Kasper (Lucia), baritone Daniel Schmutzhard (Allendorf), baritone Davide Damiani (Fred Bucksmann), soprano Elizabeth Reiter (Klara Bucksmann), alto Stine Marie Fischer (Sinya), tenor Alexander Mayr (Chicken Heart) and bass Alfred Reiter (Zachary R.). Sebastian Zierer conducts and Corinna Tetzel directs.

Friday, 29 May 2015

May 29th, 2015 : world première of Isidora Zebeljan's 'Nahod Simon' in Gelsenkirchen

Today, Isidora Zebeljan's new opera, Nahod Simon (Simon the Foundling), with a libretto by Borislav Čičovački after a Serbian popular tale, will be performed in Gelsenkirchen, at the Musiktheater im Revier.

It is Isidora Zebeljan's fourth opera, after Zora D. (Amsterdam, 2003), The Marathon (Bregenz, 2008) and Two Heads and a Girl (Sienna, 2012).
Simon is a foundling. Monks found him as a baby like Moses, in a floating basket. At the age of 15, when other children his age call him a bastard, the abbot of the monastery handed him a letter and a gold coin, that where lying in the basket with him. The search for his parents is a resteless, crazy and laborious journey through an inhospitable Diaspora. (freely translated from the opera house website)
The cast includes Piotr Prochera (Simon), Gudrun Pelker (Ana), Anke Sieloff, Noriko Ogawa-Yatake, Joachim G. Maass, William Saetre and Dong-Won Seo. Valtteri Rauhalammi conducts and Michiel Dijkema directs.

May 29th, 2015 : world première of Lucia Ronchetti's 'Esame di mezzanotte' in Mannheim

Today, Lucia Ronchetti's new opera, Esame di mezzanotte, with a libretto by Ermanno Cavazzoni, will be performed in Mannheim, at the National Theater.

The libretto in Italian by the author Ermanno Cavazzoni, who previously wrote the original idea for Federico Fellini’s film Die Stimme des Mondes (The Voice of the Moon) was created on the basis of his novel Mitternachtsabitur (Final Exam at Midnight).
A young man driven by anxiety to insomnia is suffering from a typical case of extreme fear: his final exams will take place tomorrow and he has forgotten everything ... At night, Girolamenti wanders around a library, but the library has lost its actual purpose. It is now like the underground of a city, a collecting tank for non-conformists. Girolamenti meets bizarre creatures and demons that crawl out of the books and lurk under the benches. Fantasies become realities, real fears and surreal occurrences are mixed together until they are unrecognizable. A comic and fantastic opera about the coming end of the world of books, about examinations and lack of concentration, about disturbances and being disturbed, comic nightmares and fears, and not least of all about people who live on the edge of society. (reproduced from the opera house website)
The opera should last about 2 hours, including a 20 minutes intermission. It is a least Ronchetti's third opera, after Neumond (Mannheim, 2011) and Mise en abyme (Dresden, 2015).

The cast includes countertenor Matthew Shaw (Giro Lamenti), bass Magnus Piontek (Fischietti), tenor Ziad Nehme (Natale), soprano Vera-Lotte Böcker (Iris) and actor Reuben Willcox (Santoro). Johannes Kalitzke conducts the Orchestra, Choir and Children's Choir of the Theater Mannheim. Achim Freyer directs.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

New in my collection : program books from Teatro alla Scala : Battistelli's 'CO2' and Maazel's '1984'

This morning, I have received two program books published by the Teatro alla Scala in Milano for two contemporary operas :

- Giorgio Battistelli : CO₂, world première on May 16th, 2015 ;
- Lorin Maazel : 1984, world première in London (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) on May 3rd, 2005, first performed in Milan on May 2nd, 2008.

The program book for Battistelli's opera is a 180 pages book. It contains :

- an introduction by librettist Ian Burton (in English and Italian) ;
- the complete libretto (in English and Italian) ;
- the synopsis (in Italian, French, English, German, Japanese and Russian ;
- a detailed biography of the composer, by Giulia Accornero (in Italian) ;
- The opera : a brief overview, by Cesare Fertonani (in Italian and English) ;
- The music, by Marco Moiraghi (in Italian and English) ;
- L'opera oggi, al servizio di una malata terminale, interview with the composer (in Italian) ;
- A climate change opera, by Ian Burton (in Italian and English) ;
- 24 pages of color photographs of landscapes damaged by human activities ;
- Un soggetto per la nostra epoca, by Robert Carsen (in Italian) ;
- detailed biographies of the members of the production team ;
- black and white portraits of the singers.

The program book for Maazel's opera is a 210 pages book. It contains :

- complete libretto (in English and Italian) ;
- color photos of the 2005 production in London ;
- the synopsis (in Italian, French, English, German and Japanese) ;
- L'opera in breve, by Cesare Fertonani ;
- The music, by Marco Moiraghi ;
- Come ho scritto 1984, by Lorin Maazel ;
- 1984, Maazel, Orwell : dal totalitarismo alla dittatura dei media, by Michele Porzio ;
- George Orwell e l'indagine letteraria sull'autoritarismo, by Angelo Arciero ;
- interview with the director Robert Lepage (originally published in the London program book) ;
- B& W photos of London rehearsals ;
- detailed chronology of Lorin Maazel's life, with lots of photos.

This book is mainly in Italian. The CO₂ book is mostly bilingual Italian / English, most likely because the performances of the opera (a commission of the Teatro alla Scala) are connected to the Expo Milano 2015.

Friday, 22 May 2015

May 22nd, 2015 : world première of Hèctor Parra's 'Wilde' in Schwetzingen

Today, Hèctor Parra's new opera, Wilde, with a libretto by Händl Klaus, will be performed for the first time at the Rokokotheater in Schwetzingen, as part of the Schwetzingen Festival.

It is Parra's fifth opera since Zangezi in 2007.
Gunter aus Bleibach has just arrived in Neumünster an der Lau. The connecting train that will take him to his parents does not leave until tomorrow. He bumps into the Flick brothers who retain him. The compelling delay will help Gunter to achieve catharsis : his experiences as a war doctor haunt him, but the three Flick sisters promise him healing. (from the Festival website)
The opera should last about 2 hours. The required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba :
- percussion (2) ;
- 1 harp ;
- strings (

The cast is the following : bass baritone Ekkehard Abele (Gunter aus Bleibach), soprano Marisol Montalvo (Hedy Flick), mezzo Mireille Lebel (Angela Flick), soprano Lini Gong (Iris Flick), tenor Vincent Lièvre-Picard (Hanno Flick), countertenor Bernhard Landauer (Emil Flick) and actor Ernst Alisch (Wolfgang Flick). The Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR is conducted by Peter Rundel. Calixto Bieito directs.

The opera will be broadcast by SWR2 on Sunday, June 7th, 2015.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

May 22nd, 2015 : world première of Huang Ruo's 'Paradise Interrrupted' in Spoleto USA

Today, Huang Ruo's new opera, Paradise Interrupted, with a libretto by Ji Chao, Jennifer Wen Ma, Huang Ruo, and Qian Yi, will be performed in Charleston (SC) as part of the Spoleto Festival USA.

It is at least Huang Ruo's third opera, after Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (2011) and An American Soldier (2014). This new opera marries Chinese tradition dating from the Ming Dynasty with contemporary Western idioms.
In a dream, a woman meets her lover and searches for an unattainable ideal as a vast garden grows from an empty stage, only to disappear as her dream ends. (reproduced from the Festival website).
The cast includes Joseph Dennis, John Holiday, Joo Won Kang and Ao Li (The four Male Soloists) and Qian Yi (Woman). John Kennedy conducts a chamber orchestra mixing Western and Chinese instruments. Jennifer Wen Ma directs.

May 22nd, 2015 : two new chamber operas in Warsaw

Today, the National Polish Opera presents two new chamber operas in the Chamber Music Hall (Młynarski Hall) of the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw.

First, Requiem for an Icon, composed by Katarzyna Głowicka, with a libretto by Krystian Lada.
The opera tells a story about the relations between Jackie Kennedy and Ron Galella – the legendary American paparazzo, with a libretto inspired by historical documents and photos. (reproduced from the opera house website)
The opera should last about 60 minutes and requires flute, oboe, clarinet, percussion, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double bass, synthesizer and electronics. Soprano Patrycja Krzeszowska-Kubit sings the part of Jackie, baritone Maciej Straburzyński is Ron, actress Marta Ojrzyńska plays Jackie's double.

The second part of the evening consists of Voyager, a 'romantic opera' by Sławomir Kupczak, with a libretto by Michał Borczuch.
The opera’s libretto focuses on a utopian vision of the journey and the loneliness of the man behind the Voyager Golden Records project. Rysa, the protagonist, follows the probe’s flight from the Earth, feeling both disappointed with the whole undertaking and longing metaphysically for the traces of human civilisation flying away into emptiness. The idea here is to take NASA’s mission out of its spectacular, state-of-the art context and present it from the perspective of a human being, for whom outer space, its scale and time, are impossible to grasp or imagine. It is a juxtaposition of cosmic journey with the limits of terrestrial life. (reproduced from the opera house website)
Michał Sławecki sings the part of Rysa and Artur Janda is the Curator.

Bassem Akiki conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki  Polish National Opera, and Michał Borczuch directs.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Received in the mail this morning : program book for 'The Colour' by Gerhard Stäbler in Würzburg

This Wednesday morning, I have received in the mail the program book published by the Mainfranken Theater in Würzburg for the world première performance of Gerhard Stäbler's opera The Colour.

It is a 28 pages brochure. It contains :

- the complete cast and crew ;
- the synopsis, as a list of events happening in the opera ;
- a detailed biography of the composer ;
- an interview with the composer about his opera ;
- two excerpts of H. P. Lovecraft's The Color out of Space ;
- an article on the writer H. P. Lovecraft ;
- biographies of conductor, director and video designer.

It is entirely in German. The covers of all the program books of contemporary operas I have are here.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Received in the mail this morning : program book for 'Münchhausen' by Jan Masanetz in Hannover

This Monday morning, I have received in the mail the program book published by the Staatstheater Hannover for the world première of Münchhausen, children opera composed by Jan Masanetz, first performed on May 8th.

It is a 32 pages brochure, with several questions children (and adults !) might have while watching the show and answering them. It contains :

- complete cast and crew (who is involved ?) ;
- synopsis (what happens in the opera ?) ;
- an article on the real Hieronymus Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Münchhausen ;
- how do you make fire on stage ?
- where does the snow come from ? is it real ?
- how do you direct penguins ?
- the moon princess has glowing hair. How does it work ?
- biographies of composer Jan Masanetz and librettist Klaus Angermann ;
- several color pictures and drawings.

It is entirely in German.

Friday, 15 May 2015

May 16th, 2015 : world première of Giorgio Battistelli's 'CO₂' in Milan

Today, Giorgio Battistelli's new opera, CO₂, with a libretto in English by Ian Burton, will be performed at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. It is a commission by the Theatre as a contribution to the theme of Expo Milano 2015, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

Since the 1980s, Battistelli has composed several works for the theater, including Prova d'Orchestra (1995), Richard III (2005) and Divorcio all'italiana (2008). 
The opera is divided into nine scenes, plus a prologue and an epilogue. The dramatic structure centres on the lecture given by a climatologist whose name is emblematic of the entire human race : David Adamson. As he attempts to explain the risks facing the planet and endangering the survival of humanity, he himself comes to realise the absolute necessity of loving the environment in which we live and for which we are all personally responsible, and not merely of respecting its ecology. In scene after scene, Adamson’s lecture is interrupted by and interspersed with episodes or insights, according to a postmodern narrative logic that generates a whirlwind of “short-circuits” in time and space. So, alongside David Adamson appear a range of diverse characters : four archangels (Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel and Michael) ; scientists and ecologists ; Adam, Eve and the Serpent ; Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of the earth ; MrsMason, the sister of a survivor of the tsunami, and Mr Changtalay, a Thai hotel manager ; and also young people, travellers, women doing their shopping. (reproduced from the Scala website).
The cast includes soprano Pumeza Matshikiza (Eve), counter-tenor David DQ Lee (Serpent), mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnston (Gaia), tenor Sean Panikkar (Adam), baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore (D. Adamson), bass Dennis Wilgenhof (Archangel Raphael), bass Alain Coulombe (Archangel Uriel). Cornelius Meister conducts and Robert Carsen directs. The opera should last about 90 minutes. The first performance is to be broadcast live by Italian Rai Radio 3.

The orchestra is the following :

- 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 4 clarinets, 4 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 2 tubas ;
- timpani and 4 percussionists ;
- amplified bass guitar, 2 samplers
- strings
(according to the Ricordi website)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

May 15th, 2015 : world première of 'The Tenth Daughter' by Milko Lazar in Lubljana

Today, Milko Lazar's new opera, The Tenth Daughter, with a libretto by Svetlana Makarovič, will be performed at the Slovenian National Theater in Ljubljana.

The composer himself has undertitled his work 'Operatorio in Ten Scenes'.
The story revolves around a refined and rather common understanding of universal love as traced in the mythological structure of the folk song about the Tenth Daughter. (reproduced from the Opera House website)
The cast includes, among others, Urška Arlič Gololičič (The Tenth Daughter), Ema Hribernik (The Tenth), Zdenka Gorenc (The First Mother), Elena Dobravec (The Second Mother), Boris Ostan (The Court Jester), Robert Vrčon (The Midnight Bat), Nine Sisters and Nine She Bats. Marko Hribernik conducts and Rocc (artistic director of the Opera House) directs.

May 15th, 2015 : world première of 'Pedr Solis' by Per Bloland in Boston (MA)

Today Per Bloland's new opera, Pedr Solis, with a libretto by Paul Schick in English and Old Norse languages will be performed in Boston (MA).

The opera is a commission of Guerilla Opera, and performances will take place at the Zack Box at the Boston Conservatory. The libretto (which can be downloaded from the Guerilla Opera website) is based on The Tower, a play by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the life of Norwegian author Pedr Solis in the late 1960s.
A figure is written into a structure located in a timeless mythic landscape somewhere in the north of Norway. He explores its modernist architecture, but increasingly the irrational encroaches, and order disintegrates. Pedr’s novel character is released from captivity and undertakes to overthrow the author and usurp his role in Oslo. The revolution succeeds, but Edda forces incipient at the borders burst in to subsume the story. The Norwegian god Loki soliloquies. (reproduced from the Guerilla Opera website)
The orchestra consists of five musicians playing clarinets, violin, saxophones, percussion and electronics. The singers are mezzo Carrie Cheron (Doctor), baritone Brian Church (Pedr Solis), soprano Aliana de la Guardia (Adrian) and countertenor Douglas Dodson (Ignis). All together as a chorus they also incarnate Loki. Laine Rettmer directs.

The first performance will be streamed live on the Guerilla Opera website.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Received in the mail this morning : program books from Köln (Eötvös) and Hamburg (Furrer)

This Wednesday morning, I have received two program books for new operas in the mail :

- Peter Eötvös, Senza sangue, Köln, May 1st, 2015 ;
- Beat Furrer, la bianca notte / die helle nacht, Hamburg, May 10th, 2015.

The first one is a 144 pages book that includes the complete and detailed program for the complete 'Acht Brücken' Festival. It contains only a short notice on the new opera, with the title 'Personal comments by Peter Eötvös on the performance of Senza sangue'. The whole book is entirely in German.

The second is a 48 pages book. It contains :
- Figuren in sizbzehn Szenen, the synopsis of the opera ;
- several quotes from Beat Furrer ;
- Kontinuierliche Suggestion, by Marie Luise Maintz ;
- Kann man Licht hören ?, by Rupert Burleigh ;
- Moderne Zeiten, gestern und heute, by Francis Hüsers ;
- a new German translation of the libretto, after the vocal score ;
- several color photos of rehearsals ;
- the complete cast for the world première ;
- and a separate 4 pages leaflet withe complete cast and crew.

You can have a look at the covers of all program books for contemporary operas I have in this flickr folder.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

May 13th, 2015 : world première of 'Private View' by Annelies van Parys in Antwerpen

Today, the first opera composer by Annelies van Parys, Private View, with a libretto by Jen Hadfield, will be performed in Antwerpen (Kunsthuis) as part of the Opera XXI festival.

The audience is drawn in and shares the view of a voyeur who shamelessly penetrates into other peoples’ lives. The opera confronts us with the ambiguity of watching and being watched, an issue that seems more relevant today than in the past : Big Brother is watching you, more than ever. (reproduced from the Muziektheater Transparant website)
Soprano Johanna Zimmer, mezzo Truike van der Poel, tenor Martin Nagy, Baritone Guillermo Anzorena and bass Andreas Fischer are joined by the Asko | Schönberg Ensemble and the Neue Vocasolisten Stuttgart. Etienne Siebens conducts, with dramaturgy by Tom Creed and set and video deisgn by Collective 331/3.

The performance should last about 90 minutes.

Monday, 11 May 2015

May 11th, 2015 : world première of Tom Cipullo's new opera 'After Life' in Seattle

Today, Music of Remembrance presents the world première performance of Tom Cipullo's new opera, After Life, at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall (Benaroya Hall) in Seattle, WA.

It is Cipullo's third opera, after Glory Denied (2007-2013) and Lucy (2009). Dutch composer Michel van der Aa composed an opera with the same title (first performed in Amsterdam in 2006), but it is not the same story.

The libretto by David Mason described the encounter between Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein at her appartment, 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris. Ricky Ian Gordon's recent opera 27 (released on CD by Albany), is located there and shows the same characters.
Picasso and Stein meet again in a posthumous debate filled with both passion and humor. They argue over the moral responsibilities of artists to address the evil they see in the world. They confront each others’ weaknesses, and their own, in succumbing to vanity and ego. (reproduced from the MOR website)
The three singers, mezzo Catherine Cook, baritone Robert Orth and soprano Ava Pine are joined by an instrumental quintett : flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. They are directed by Erich Parce.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

May 10th, 2015 : World première of Beat Furrer's new opera 'La bianca notte / Die helle Nacht' in Hamburg

Today, Beat Furrer's new opera, La bianca notte / Die helle Nacht will be performed at the Opera House in Hamburg.

It is the composer's seventh composition for the musical stage since Die Blinden in 1989. His output includes Narcissus (1994), Invocation (2003) and Wüstenbuch (2010). Beat furrer has written his own libretto after the life and works of Dino Campana.
The protagonist Dino writes and invents stories in order to exist and to conjure his own exitence, his identity, his ego.  He evokes his own real identity by creating counter-realities. Dino Edison lights up the night by inventing stories. He designs his counterpart, the Mephistophelean figure of Regolo, the seducer with an addiction for novelty rooted deep into his heart, he designs Russo, his reflection, a frantic writer who is convinced he could save people by writing stories. (freely adapted from the Bärenreiter publisher e-newsletter).

 The following orchestra is required :
- 3 flutes (doubling 2 piccolos), 2 oboes, 3 clarinets (doubling bass and contrabass clarinet), 1 soprano saxophone, 2 bassoons, contrabasson ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- percussion (3 musicians) ;
- piano, accordion, harp ;
- strings (8,8,6,6,4).

The cast includes Golda Schultz (Sibilla, soprano), Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Indovina, messo), Tomas Tomasson (Dino, baritone), Derek Welton (Regolo, bass baritone) and Tigran Martirossian (Il Russo, bass). The Philharmoniker Hamburg and the Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper are conducted by Simone Young. Ramin Gray directs. The first performance will be broadcast live by NDR Kultur.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

May 9th, 2015 : World première of Gordon Getty's 'The Canterville Ghost' in Leipzig

Today, Gordon Getty's third opera, The Canterville Ghost, with a libretto written by the composer after Oscar Wilde's short story, will be performed for the first time in Leipzig (Opera House).

It is Getty's third opera after Usher House and Plump Jack. It requires the following orchestra :
- 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon
- 2 horns, trumpet, 2 trombones, tuba
- 2 percussion, harp, piano / celesta / harpsichord
- strings
It is at least the third opera inspired by this story, after works by Alexander Knaifel and Jaroslav Křička.
The Ghost tries desperately to scare to new residents of the Canterville-Castel. It is the story telling of Virginia Otis and her meeting with the Canterville Ghost who once was a successful scary Ghost but is not any more taken seriously by the Otis family who rented Canterville Manor. The Ghost feels like an old great actor whose art does not impress any more. Virginia helps him to rest for ever. (reproduced from the Oper Leipzig website)
The cast is the following : soprano Jennifer Porto (Virginia), mezzo Jean Broekhuizenrs (Mrs. Otis), mezzo Denise Wernly (1st Twin, 1st Boy, 1st Voice from Tapestry), mezzo Rachel Marie Hauge (2nd Twin, 2nd Boy, 2nd Voice from Tapestry), tenor Timothy Oliver (Cecil Cheshire), baritone Jonathan Michie (Hiram Otis), bass Matthew Trevino (Ghost / Sir Simon).
Matthias Foremny conducts the Gewandhausorchester. Anthony Pilavachi directs.

The opera should last about 60 minutes and is performed as the first part of a double bill evening also featuring Ruggerro Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

Received in the mail this morning : program books from Gera and Budapest

This Saturday morning, I have received the two following program books in the mail :

- Johannes Harneit, Alice im Wunderland, Gera, May 2nd, 2015 ;
- Zsofia Taller, Leander and Linseed, Budapest, April 11, 2015.

The first one is a twenty page brochure. It is entirely in German. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- the synopsis of the opera ;
- an interview with the composer ;
- 4 drawings for the costumes of the main characters ;
- the biography of Lewis Carroll ;
- an article by librettist Lis Arends on her libretto ;
- a couple of black and white photos.

The second one is a 28 pages brochure. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- several color pictures of the production ;
- the complete original story by Andor Szilagyi.

It is entirely in Hungarian.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

May 8th, 2015 : world première of 'Münchhausen' by Jan Masanetz in Hannover

Today, the first opera composed by Jan Masanetz, Münchhausen, with a libretto by Klaus Angermann, will be performed in Hannover.

This children opera, commissioned by the Staatsoper Hannover, will be performed in Ballhof Eins.
Should anyone lie ? Where is the line between truth and falsehood ? Is lie the opposite of reality or is it not sometimes a new reality ? Sometimes, it is really difficult to separate truth from falsehood, and now and then the fiction is far more exciting than the everyday reality. Baron von Münchhausen, also known as the 'Lying Baron', born in the nearby village of Bodenwerder an der Weser, is always the best, when it comes to inventing the most outrageous stories one wants to have experienced oneself. Of course, it has little to do with his real life, but his richly illustrated tales are so entertaining that noone would blame him for his jokes. He travels inside a volcano, through the center of the earth, to the South Pole, sails on treacherous seas, or flies to the moon where he encounters the strangest creatures looking for his dream Princess. (personal translation of the opera house's website)
The cast includes baritone Byung Kweon Jun (Münchhausen), baritone Michael Checewicz (the Baron's servant), mezzo Marie-Sandre Papenmeyer (the Mother), Martin Busen, Jeong-Min Nam and Eunhye Choi (three Agents / three Fantastic Creatures). They are accompanied by the Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover conducted by Siegmund Weinmeister. Beverly Blankenship directs this new opera, with sets designed by Antonella Mazza and costumes by Elvira Freind.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

May 7th, 2015 : World première of 'L'Autre hiver' by Dominique Pauwels in Mons

Today, the new opera by Dominique Pauwels, L'Autre hiver, with a libretto by Canadian playwright Normand Chaurette, will be performed in Mons, Belgium (Théâtre le Manège) as part of the Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture.
Two travellers meet each other on the deck of a ship that is trapped in ice. They introduce themselves: Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine… but maybe I is another? A 21st-century phantasmagorical opera inspired by the explosive relationship between the two poets, The Other Winter is a playful piece performed in semi-darkness with characters appearing on screen and in person. (reproduced from the Mons 2015 website).
Filip Rathé will conduct the chamber orchestra (violin, viola, cello, flutes, clarinettes and piano) and singers Lieseot De Wilde and Marion Tassou. Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin direct. Before the end of June, the opera will be performed in Antwerpen, Gent and Montpellier. Other performances will follow : in France (November 2015) and in Portugal and Canada (Ottawa and Montréal in May and June 2016).

Friday, 1 May 2015

May 2nd, 2015 : world première of 'Alice in Wunderland', opera by Johannes Harneit, in Gera

Today, Saturday May 2nd, 2015, Alice in Wunderland, the new 'chamber opera for children and adults' composed by Johannes Harneit will be performed for the first time in Gera (Bühne am Park).

The libretto by Lis Arends is an adaptation of the world famous novel by Lewis Carroll. This is at least the third lyrical work composed after this work. Previous operas on the same subject include works by Peter Westergaard (2006) and Unsuk Chin (Munich, 2007).
On a hot, long summer day, the little girl Alice encounters a white rabbit with a clock – she follows him into his hutch and thus becomes immersed in a fascinating world full of absurdities and peculiar challenges. But everything in Wonderland that perhaps appears senseless or arbitrary at first glance reveals itself to be logical and providing of new insights. Alice encounters a mouse, the Mad Hatter, the Marchrabbit, a smoking caterpillar, a grinning cat that can simply dissolve into the air, and the dominating Queen of Hearts in command of an entire army of playing cards. Alice faces up to all situations, full of courage and curiosity; these become ever more threatening until they ultimately become a matter of death or freedom. (reproduced from the Sikorski website)
The main parts will be performed by members of the Thüringer Opernstudio : Anja Elz, Sin Ae Choi, Jaegyeong Jo, Eleonora Vacchi and Salomon Zulic del Canto. Holger Krause conducts and Cornelia Poppe directs.

May 2nd, 2015 : world première of Elliott Gyger's 'Fly Away Peter' in Eveleigh

Today, Saturday May 2nd, the Sydney Chamber Opera presents the world première performance of Elliott Gyger's opera Fly Away Peter, at the Carriageworks Bay 20, in Eveleigh.

Photo of Elliott Gyger

Pierce Wilcox's libretto is based on David Malouf's novel.
World War One. Jim Saddler is a visionary young birdwatcher thrust into the nightmare of the Western Front. Fly Away Peter travels from a land of life to a panorama of horror through Jim’s voice of delicate insight. This is a story of the Australian spirit that begins at peace, builds into tragedy, and ends in transcendence. (reproduced from the Sydney Chamber Opera website)
Three soloists (tenor, baritone, messo-soprano) are accompanied by a chamber ensemble consisting of clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, percussion, violin and double bass. Conducted by Jack Symonds, the singers Mitchell Riley, Jessica Aszodi and Brenton Spiteri will be directed by Imara Savage.

Today : world première (in concert) of 'Senza sangue', the new opera by Peter Eötvös

Today, the new opera composed by Peter Eötvös, Senza sangue, with a libretto by Mari Mezei after Alessandro Baricco's novel, will be performed in Cologne (at the Philharmonie), during the Acht Brücken / Musik für Köln festival.

Peter Eötvös
During a civil war, a man and his companions killed the entire family of a certain young girl. The plot of the one-act opera spans many decades, from the moment where the girl looks in the eyes of the twenty-year-old boy who has shot her father but spared her own life, until their new encounter many decades later.
After the tragedy, the woman spent her whole life in some kind of schizophrenic state, looking at herself as an outside observer. She reputedly killed, or arranged the killing of, her father’s murderers, except for the man who had saved her. They both knew all along they had to meet again, but didn’t know what this encounter would bring after so many years. (reproduced from the Schott publisher website)
Mezzo soprano Anne Sofie von Otter (La Donna) and baritone Russell Braun (L'Uomo) will be joined by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert. On May 8th and 9th, the same team will perform the work at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York. Further performances are planned in Göteborg in April 2016, this time with the composer conducting.

The opera should last about 50 minutes, and requires a large orchestra : 4 flutes, 2 oboes, English Horn, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass trombone, 1 tuba, 2 percussions, 2 harps, celesta and strings.