Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Today : world première of 'O Columbia' by Gregory Spears in Houston

Today, O Columbia, the new chamber opera composed by Gregory Spears will receive its first performance in Houston, at the Revention Music Center.

The libretto by Royce Vavrek has been inspired by interviews by Houston-based NASA astronauts, scientists and engineers.
O Columbia traces a history of dreamers and explorers–from Sir Walter Raleigh journeying to the New World, to a Houston teenager experiencing communion, and later, heartbreak, with a Columbia space shuttle astronaut, to future astronauts venturing to the far reaches of the solar system-in an ode to America's pioneering spirit. (reproduced from Houston Grand Opera website).
The cast consists of artists from the Houston Grand Opera Studio (young artist program) : soprano Pureum Jo (Becca), baritone Ben Edquist (Raleigh / Astronaut) and mezzo-soprano Megan Samarin (Lady Columbia). Timothy Myers conducts and Kevin Newbury directs.

The opera should last about 70 minutes.

His next opera, Fellow Travelers, is scheduled for performance in Cincinnati in June 2016. The composer is already working on another vocal project, Jason and the Argonauts, an opera for young people, commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Today : world première of Michael Wertmüller's 'Weine nicht, singe' in Hamburg

Today, the Staatsoper Hamburg presents on its second stage (Opera stabile) the world première performance of Weine nicht, singe, by composer Michael Wertmüller, with a libretto by Dea Loher.

The Levant. Mira, a fourteen-year-old girl, grandfather Zeno, mother Altai and father Ron are welcoming Aki, who left fifteen years ago. He wants to pay back the money he borrowed, trying to open an auto repair shop with his brothers in the South. But the borders were shut down. Now the former neighbor speaks a different language and believes in another God. and Mira shouts her hatred to him, because he has left his aunt Oona behind. But splinters in Zeno's brain hurts him : 'Mira has to make peace with her father' (free translation after the Staatsoper's website).
The cast includes actor Josef Ostendorf (Zeno), baritone Holger Falk (Aki), tenor Jürgen Sacher (Ron), soprano Ruth Rosenfeld (Altai), and actress Tina Keserovic (Mira). They are joined by the Ensemble Resonanz and the Steamboat Switzerland trio. Titus Engel conducts and Jette Steckel directs.

The opera should last about two hours.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Today : world première of 'Notorious' by Hans Gefors in Göteborg

Today, the new opera composed by Hans Gefors, Notorious, with a libretto in Swedish by Kerstin Perski after Alfred Hitchcock's movie, will be performed in Göteborg.

Previous opera by Hans Gefors include Christina (1986), Der Park (1991), Clara (1998) and Skuggspel (2004).
During World War II, the CIA agent Devlin persuades the American Alicia, daughter of a notorious Nazi, to become a spy in Rio de Janeiro. They grow attracted to each other, but the mission compels Alicia to seduce a man on the enemy side. Blinded by jealousy, Devlin is forced to watch Alicia give herself to another man. (reproduced from the Göteborg Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Nina Stemme (Alicia Hauser), baritone John Lundgren (Devlin), tenor Michael Weinius (Alex Sebastian), mezzo-soprano Katarina Karnéus (Madame Sebastian), tenor Jón Ketilsson (Prescott), bass Anders Lorentzson (Alicia's Father), and tenor Jonas Olofsson (Emil Hupka). Patrik Ringborg conducts the Chorus and Orchestral of the Göteborg Opera. Keith Warner directs.

The orchestral setting is the following :

- 3 flutes (3rd also piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 1 baritone saxophone ;
- 4 French horns, 3 trumpets (1st also piccola trumpet), 2 trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 cimbasso ;
- 4 percussionists ;
- harp, electric guitar ;
- strings.

The opera should last about 150 minutes. The first performance will be broadcast live by Swedish Radio SR P2. Two further performance will be recorded by the Swedish Television. Let's hope a DVD will be published.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

New in my collection : from the Santa Fe Opera Festival

I have recently acquired several items from the Santa Fe Opera Festival :

- Desirée Mays : Opera Unveiled 2009 (76 pages) , with an article on The Letter, new opera composed by Paul Moravec ;
- Desirée Mays : Opera Unveiled 2013 (80 pages) , with an article on Oscar, new opera composed by Theodore Morrison ;
- Desirée Mays : Opera Unveiled 2014 (80 pages), with an article on Dr. Sun Yat-sen, new opera composed by Huang Ruo ;
- Desirée Mays : Opera Unveiled 2015 (80 pages), with an article on Cold Mountain, new opera composed by Jennifer Higdon ;

- Gene Scheer : Cold Mountain, libretto for the opera composed by Jennifer Higdon (78 pages) ;
- programme book for the 2015 season at the Santa Fe Opera (168 pages)

It contains only 8 pages entirely dedicated to this opera with :

- complete cast and crew (with B&W headshots) ;
- synopsis ;
- Ascending Cold Mountain, by librettist Gene Scheer ;
- A Note from the Director, by Leonard Foglia.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Today : world première of 'Giordano Bruno' by Francesco Filidei in Porto

Today, Giordano Bruno, the new opera composed by Francesco Filidei, with a libretto by Stefano Busellato, will be performed in Porto, at the Casa da Musica.

The libretto (in 12 scenes) is based on the life of the 16th century Italian philosopher who claimed the sun was the center of the universe. He ultimately was burned at the stake.
The action is divided between the chronology of Giordano Bruno's trial and scenes directly inspired by his philosophy. Each scene is composed around one note. From the first scene centered on F sharp, each scene related to the trial is half a tone lower, and each scene related to his philosophy is half a tone higher, starting with G. (reproduced from the website dedicated to the work)
The opera should last about 90 minutes. After rehearsals in Gennevilliers near Paris (the opera is a commission of the French group T&M), the opera will receive its first performance in Porto, with baritone Lionel Peintre (Giordano Bruno), tenor Jeff Martin (1st Inquisitor), bass Ivan Ludlow (2nd Inquisitor) and countertenor Guilhem Terrail (Pope Clemente VIII). The Remix Ensemble and a 12 voices chorus are conducted by Peter Rundel, with Antoine Gindt directing.

The same production will then be performed in Strasbourg (Musica Festival, September 19th and 20th), Reggio Emilia (Teatro Valli, September 26th), Milan (Piccolo Teatro Strehler, November 7th). The tour will end in April 2016 with four performances in Gennevilliers (from 14th to 21st) and in Caen on 26th.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

New in my collection : programme for 'Macbeth' by Luke Styles in Glyndebourne

On Thursday, I have received in the mail the programme publishd by the Glyndebourne Festival for the world première performance of Macbeth, the new opera by Luke Styles, with a libretto adapted from William Shakespeare by Ted Huffman.

It is a 12 pages brochure. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- Composer's Note, by Luke Styles ;
- Macbeth : A new opera, by director Ted Huffman ;
- biographies of the singers and crew members.

This flickr folder contains scans of the covers of all programme books for contemporary operas I have.