Sunday, 29 November 2015

New in my collection : 4 program books from the USA and Canada

I have recently received four new program books published by opera houses from the USA and Canada :

- Philip Glass : Appomattox, Washington (National Opera at the Kennedy Center), November 14, 2015 (world première of the new version). The 36 pages brochure contains : complete cast and crew, articles by composer Philip Glass, librettist Christopher Hampton, director Tazewell Thompson, a timeline of historical events of the opera, biographies of the artists ;

- Barbara Monk Feldman : Pyramus and Thisbe, Toronto (Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre), October 20, 2015 (world première). The new opera was the third and last part of the evening also including performance of Claudio Monteverdi's Lamento d'Arianna and Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. The 48 pages brochure contains : Who's Who at the COC this Fall, Director's Notes and Synopses on Three Musical Tales by Christopher Alden ; Ovid Reconfigured by Amy Beal. It also contains information on Verdi's La Traviata, performed the same month.

- Tobias Picker : Emmeline, Saint Louis (Opera Theatre at the Loretto-Hilton Center), June 13, 2015 (new production). The 168 pages book contains (besides 58 pages of advertisement) all the articles on the complete 2015 season at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, also including Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Puccini's La Rondine and Haendel's Riccardo Primo. The part of it related to Emmeline includes : complete cast and crew, synopsis, a note from the stage director James Robinson, a note from the composer, a conversation with librettist J. D. McClatchy (9 pages altogether), artists' profiles ;

- Gregory Spears : O Columbia, Houston (Grand Opera at the Revention Music Center), September 23, 2015 (world première). The 16 pages brochure contains : complete cast and crew, synopsis, who's who, a conversation with the creative team.

Here is a link to a flickr folder with the covers of all 380 program books for contemporary operas I have in my collection.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Today : world première of 'Die Schneekönigin' von Georg Alexander Albrecht in Weimar

Today, Georg Alexander Albrecht's first opera, Die Schneekönigin (The Snow Queen), will be performed in Weimar, by the Deutsches Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle.

The libretto by Peter Truschner is based on Hans-Christian Andersen's fairy tale.
Kay and Gerda are best friends. Together they listen to the stories Gerda’s grandmother tells them and play in the snow when winter arrives. But when a kobold strikes Kay in the eye and heart with two shards of a magic mirror, everything suddenly changes. Kay becomes belligerent and egotistical and wants to leave home. The Snow Queen appears and lures him into her kingdom of ice where the cold conquers all and he forgets everything in his past. Gerda wants to help him and embarks on a daring journey. In a forest, she encounters animals who can talk and is taken prisoner by bandits and barely escapes, driven onward by the hope of finding Kay deep in the north… (reproduced from the DNT website).
The orchestra is the following :

- Flute, Oboe, 2 Clarinets, Bassoon ;
- 2 Horns, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba ;
- Timpani, 2 Percusions, Harp ;
- Strings

The cast includes coloratura soprano Lini Gong (Schneekönigin), soprano Steffi Lehmann (Gerda), mezzos Eleonora Vacchi (Kay) and Sayaka Shigeshima (Ronja), alto Rebecca Teem (Grandmother), baritone Alik Abdukayumov (Reindeer) and bass Daeyoung Kim (Raven). The composer conducts. Maximilian von Mayenburg directs. The performance should last about 90 minutes.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Today : world première of 'Il Labbro della Lady' by Carlo Galante in Modena

Today, Carlo Galante's new opera, Il Labbro della Lady, with a libretto by Stefano Valanzuolo after Arthur Conan Doyle's The Case of Lady Sannox, will be performed at the Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti in Modena.

Carlo Galante has already composed several works for the stage including Corradino (Bologna, 1991), Ghost Café (Bergamo, 2000) and La Tempesta, after Shakespeare (Torino, 2006).
An arrogant and successful surgeon is in love with the married Lady Sannox, one of the most beautiful women in the world. He is asked by a Turkish man to operate on the latter's wife, who has cut her lip with a poison envenomed scimitar. The surgeon goes ahead with the operation on the heavily drugged wife, whose face is obscured by a veil. After he has performed the opera, the surgeon realizes his patient is Lady Sannox, and the Turk her husband, who believes the disfigurement will be morally good for his wife. (reproduced from the wikipedia article)
The cast includes soprano Francesca Tassinari (Lady Petula), tenor Mirko Guadagnini (Narcison silican 'El prestigiador'), bass Matteo Ferrara (Lord Sannox) and the actor Toni Contartese (Il giornalista). Carlo Boccadoro conducts the Ensemble della Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Modena, Stefania Panighini directs. The opera should last about 75 minutes, with no interval.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Today : world première of new version of 'Appomattox' by Philip Glass in Washington

Today, a new version of Appomattox, the opera by Philip Glass, with a libretto by Christopher Hampton, will be performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington (DC), by the Washington National Opera. The first version of the opera was premiered in San Francisco on October 5, 2007.

The opera explores the struggle to end racial inequality in America at two key crossroads a century apart: General Ulysses S. Grant's dramatic war-ending deliberations with General Robert E. Lee at a Virginia courthouse - and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s passionate debates with President Lyndon B. Johnson as civil rights protesters rallied in Alabama. (reproduced from the Kennedy Center website).
The cast includes baritone Tom Fox (Abraham Lincoln / Lyndon B. Johnson), bass Soloman Howard (Frederick Douglass / Martin Luther King Jr.), bass baritone David Pittsinger (Robert E. Lee / Edgar Ray Killen), baritone Richard Paul Fink (Ulysses S. Grant / Nicholas Katzenbach), tenor Robert Brubaker (Wilmer McLean / J. Edgar Hoover). Dante Anzolini conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Washington National Opera. Tazewell Thompson directs.

The two parts should last 80 minutes each. This world premiere commemorates 50 years since the Voting Rights Act and 150 years since the end of the Civil War.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Today : world première of 'Morgen und Abend' by Georg Friedrich Haas in London

Today, the new opera composed by Georg Friedrich Haas, Morgen und Abend, with a libretto by Jon Fosse, will be performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London.

It is the composer's seventh opera, since Adolf Wölfli (Graz, 1981). His work for the stage includes Melancholia (Paris, 2008), Bluthaus (Schwetzingen, 2011, revised for Hamburg, 2014) and Thomas (Schwetzingen, 2013).
Johannes the fisherman, a simple man in the autumn of his years, recalls his past life, the two people who meant most to him – his wife and his friend Peter, who have both long since passed away. Johannes’ yearning will come to an end on this day. When his daughter comes to check on him the following morning, she finds him dead. (reproduced from the publisher website)
The cast includes actor Klaus Maria Brandauer (Olai), baritone Christoph Pohl (Johannes), soprano Sarah Wegener (Signe / Midwife), tenor Will Hartmann (Peter) and alto Helena Rasker (Erna). Michael Boder conducts the Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Graham Vick directs.

The orchestra is the following :

- 3 flutes (all doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn (3rd doubling oboe), 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet in B (doubling clarinet in E flat) , 2 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon ;
- 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 2 trombones, tuba ;
- timpani and 2 percussions, accordion ;
- strings (12-10-8-8-6).

The opera should last about 90 minutes. The opera will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on December 5th. The same production will be performed at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in April 2016. The full score is available for viewing on the Universal Edition website.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Today : world première of 'Snow White' by Elena Kats-Chernin in Berlin

Today, the Komische Oper in Berlin presents the world première performance of a new children opera composed by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, Schneewittchen und die 77 Zwerge (Snow White and the 77 Dwarves), with a libretto by Susanne Felicitas Wolf, after the fairytale by the brothers Grimm.

The world famous fairy tale has been adapted into a witty and cheeky version :
Princess Snow White is sick of it: forever having to practise her calligraphy! She yearns for the big wide world, for adventure and a wealth of new experiences. Her vain stepmother, the queen who is practically obsessed by her own beauty, is not only completely lacking in empathy – even worse, she feels no tenderness whatsoever towards her stepdaughter. Luckily for Snow White, she has a trusty companion in the form of a slightly too-large rabbit named Richard III. Together, they manage to flee from the murderous queen... (reproduced from the Komische Oper website)
Elena Kats-Chernin has already composed several works for the lyrical stage, including The Rage of Life (Antwerpen, 2010), and a trilogy based on Monteverdi's operas (Odysseus, Orpheus and Poppea, Berlin, 2012).

The cast includes soprano Alma Sadé (Snow White), mezzo soprano Susanne Kreusch (Stepmother) and actor Dirk Johnston (Richard III). Pawel Poplaswki conducts and Christian von Götz directs. The performance should last about 2 hours.