Friday, 26 February 2016

Today : world première of 'Reise nach Tripiti' by Fabian Künzli in Winterthur

Today, Fabian Künzli's new children opera will be performed at the Theater Winterthur. The libretto by Pamela Dürr is based on the book originaly written by Hans Ulrich Steger.

It is the composer's second piece for the musical theatre after Die Orchestermäuse (2014).
The battered teddy Theo ends up on a garbage dump. To get courage in his predicament, he hums the song with which his little owner has previuosly lulled him to sleep : 'trip to Tripiti'.  The broken wooden horse Kaspar wants to accompany him to the beautiful Tripiti.  During their journey, other discarded toys they meet will join the convoy. (freely translated from the Theater Winterthur website).
The cast includes soprano Andrea Suter (Puppe Resi), mezzo Michaela Polkehn (Babuschka), tenor Michael Feyfar (Kaspar Steckenpferd) and bass baritone Martin Weidmann (Bär Theodor). Marc Kissóczy conducts and Nina Russi directs.

The opera should last about 90 minutes.

Friday, 19 February 2016

New in my collection : program book for Bolcolm's 'McTeague' in Linz

This Friday morning, I have received in the mail the program book published by the Landestheater Linz for the European first performance of William Bolcom's McTeague.

It is a 32 pages booklet. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- Zwischen Golden State und Death Valley : the titles of the 12 scenes of the opera ;
- the synopsis of the opera ;
- Karl-Heinz Schönfelder : Gold can kill you !, an article on Frank Norri's novel McTeague ;
- 117 Jahre Goldrausch : a timeline of the novel's adaptations ;
- Sprachlosigkeit wird zu Musik, an interview with the composer ;
- detailed biography of the composer ;
- several color photos of the new production.

By following this link to flickr, you have access to the covers of all 395 program books for contemporary opera I have in my collection.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

New recordings of contemporary operas in my collection

I have recently acquired the following opera recordings on CD :

- John Carbon : Benjamin, conducted by William Wright, Zimbel, 2006 ;
- Beat Furrer : Begehren, conducted by Beat Furrer, Kairos, 2003 ;
- Ricky Ian Gordon : The Grapes of Wrath, conducted by Grant Gershon, PS Classics, 2007 ;

- Marcel Landowski : Montségur, conducted by Michel Plasson, Cybelia, 1987 ;
- John Musto : The Inspector, conducted by Glen Cortese, Wolf Trap, 2011 ;
- Gérard Pesson : Forever Valley, conducted by Vincent Leterme, assai, 2002 ; 

- Robin de Raaff : Waiting for Miss Monroe, conducted by Steven Sloane, Challenge, 2012 ;
- Joseph Summer : The Tempest, conducted by Stefan Lano, Albany, 2015.

I also bought the following DVD :

- José Luis Turina : D. Q. Don Quijote en Barcelona, conducted by Josep Pons, directed by La Fura dels Baus (Alex Ollé and Carlos Padrissa), Fundacio Gran Teatre del Liceu, 2000.

Today : world première of Johannes Kalitzke's 'Pym' in Heidelberg

Today, Johannes Kalitzke's new opera, Pym, with a libretto by Christoph Klimke, based on Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, will be performed for the first time in Heidelberg.

© Dominik Weinmann
The libretto in German also includes texts by Walter Benjamin and Fernando Pessoa.
The work relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym, who stows away aboard a whaling ship. Various adventures and misadventures befall Pym, including shipwreck, mutiny, and cannibalism, before he is saved by the crew of the Jane Guy. Aboard this vessel, Pym and a sailor named Dirk Peters continue their adventures further south. Docking on land, they encounter hostile black-skinned natives before escaping back to the ocean. The novel ends abruptly as Pym and Peters continue toward the South Pole. (reproduced from wikipedia)
The cast includes countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim (Arthur Gordon Pym), tenor Ipča Ramanović (Augustus), baritone Wilfried Staber (Peters), tenor Winfrid Mikus (Kapitän Guy), bass David Daniel Reem (Richard Parker). Elias Grandy conducts the Heidelberg Theater Choir and the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra. Johann Kresnik directs.

The orchestra is the following (according to the Boosey & Hawkes website) :

- 2 flutes (1st doubling piccolo, 2nd doubling bass flute and alto flute), 1 oboe, 1 English horn, 1 clarinet (doubling Eb clarinet and C clarinet), 1 bass clarinet (doubling double bass clarinet), 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon ;
- 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 tuba
- 3 percussionists, 2 harps, piano (doubling celesta and harmonium), sampler ;
- strings.

The opera should last about 100 minutes.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Today : European première of William Bolcom's 'McTeague' in Linz, Austria

Today, the Landestheater Linz presents the first performance in Europe of William Bolcom's opera McTeague, with a libretto by Arnold Weinstein and Robert Altman after Frank Norris' novel.

© Patrick Pfeiffer

The opera was first performed on October 31, 1992 at the Civic Opera House by the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
San Francisco, California in 1900 : pioneers and the gold rush are a thing of the past, and the still-Wild West is becoming an urban place of opportunities for the myth of the American Dream. The rise and fall of dentist McTeague that ends in the searing heat of Death Valley. (reproduced from the Landestheater website)
The cast includes tenor Corby Welch (McTeague), soprano Çiğdem Soyarslan (Trina Sieppe), baritone Seho Chang (Marcus Schouler) and mezzo Karen Robertson (Maria Miranda Macapa). Dennis Russell Davies conducts the theater Choir and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz (he was already in the pit in 1992).

The performance should last about 2 hours and 30 minutes. There is no broadcast planned yet. According to my personal database of about 180.000 performances since the early 1990s, there has been no performance of this opera since the world première.

Today : world première of 'Amok' by François Cattin in Reims

Today, the 'Reims Scènes d'Europe' festival and the Opéra de Reims present the world première of Amok, an opera composed by Swiss musician François Cattin with a libretto by Orianne Moretti.

The libretto is based on Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal and Goethe's Faust. It is in German and French. The opera title is a combination of the initials of Alma Mahler and Oskar Kokoschka.
The story outlines the passions and divisions of a famous couple shaken up by the upheaval at the dawn of the twentieth century. It sheds light on the turbulent relationship between two personalities travelling across which also slips on the clatters of the First World War. With their fragile relationship, Alma Mahler et Oskar Kokoschka show the relation between the creator and his muse and the impact of their intimate passions or external events, to fuel, accelerate, freeze or break inspiration and the creative process. (reproduced from the festival website)
The cast includes soprano Sophie Angebault (Alma), bass baritone Till Fechner (Oskar), bass Dan Popsecu (Alma's father), and mezzo Christine Tocci (Oskar's mother). Nicolas Farine conducts the Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin (KNM). Orianne Moretti directs.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Today : East Coast première of Jennifer Higdon's 'Cold Mountain' in Philadelphia

Today, Opera Philadelphia presents the East Coast première of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain. The opera, with a libretto by Gene Scheer was first performed in Santa Fe on August 1st, 2015.

Jarett Ott (W.P. Inman) and Ada Monroe (Isabel Leonard), (c) Kelly &Massa
The libretto is based on the Charles Frazier novel.
Fatigued by the horrors of the Civil War, deserter W.P. Inman foots the arduous terrain of North Carolina toward home and the salve of his love, Ada Monroe, herself transformed by his absence. Once a Southern lady of privilege, Ada adapts to years of profound deprivation thanks to a resourceful new friend, Ruby. Inman’s odyssey home is plagued by not only the Home Guard’s marshals, but a more gruesome possibility: has the war’s violence withered his human capacity to love? And further, what truly makes a man a human ? (reproduced from the Opera Philadelphia website).
The cast is almost the same as in Santa Fe : baritone Jarett Ott (W.P. Inman, replacing Nathan Gunn), mezzo Isabel Leonard (Ada Monroe), mezzo Cecilia Hall (Ruby Thewes), tenor Jay Hunter Morris (Teague), bass Kevin Burdette (Stobrod), baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore (Reverend Monroe). Corrado Rovaris replaces Miguel Harth-Bedoya in the pit and Leonard Foglia directs.

The performance should last about 2 hours and 45 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.