Thursday, 28 April 2016

Today : world première of Mark Simpson's 'Pleasure' by Opera North in Leeds

Today, Mark Simpson's chamber opera, Pleasure, with a libretto by Melanie Challenger, will be performed in Leeds by Opera North, at the Howard Assembly Rooms.

It is the composer's first opera.
Val works the toilets in 'Pleasure', a hedonistic gay club in the north of England. For years, she’s been a shoulder to cry on and a confidante. She is much-loved but viewed as an enigma. Why is she still there? Why does she never leave? When a young man, both beautiful and unpredictable, arrives from the city and leaves a gift for Val, it marks the beginning of a passionate and violent night… (reproduced from the Opera North website)
The cast includes soprano Lesley Garrett (Val), tenor Nick Pritchard (Matthew), baritones Timothy Nelson (Nathan) and Steven Page (Anna Fewmore). Nicholas Kok conducts the Psappha Ensemble. Tim Albery conducts. The performance should last about 75 minutes.

The production will tour to Liverpool (Playhouse, May 4), Aldeburgh (Britten Studio, May 7) and London (Lyric Hammersmith, May 12-14).

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

New in my collection : two programme books from Cologne and Houston

I have recently received two programme books published by opera companies for two new operas :

- Carlisle Floyd : Prince of Players, Houston (Grand Opera), March 5, 2016 ;
- Liza Lim : Tree of Codes, Cologne (Oper), April 9, 2016.

The first one is a 24 pages brochure. It is entirely in English. It contains :

- A message from the artistic and music director Patrick Summers and the managing director Perryn Leech ;
- A Life for Art, by Patrick Summers, with colour photos of previous operas composed by Floyd ;
- the complete cast and crew ;
- an article by Michael Gieleta, the director ;
- the synopsis of the opera ;
- Who's Who with black and white headshots.

The second one is a 64 pages book. It is entirely in German. It contains :

- several colour photos of rehearsals ;
- the complete cast ;
- the synopsis of the opera ;
- Tree of Codes : Cut-Outs in Time, by the composer Liza Lim ;
- Field recordings als 'Ausschnitte aus der Wirklichkeit' in Tree of Codes, by Liza Lim ;
- Anmerkung zur Dramaturgie, by Claire de Ribaupierre ;
- Der Baum der Erkenntniswurzel aus Bruno Schulz, by Georg Kehren ;
- Massimo Furlan : ein Theater der Bilder, by Claire de Ribaupierre ;
- biography of the composer.

There is a separate 12 pages booklet with the biographies of the cast and crew.

I now have 409 programme books for contemporary operas. You can see the scanned covers there.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Today : world première of David T. Little's 'JFK' in Fort Worth

Today, David T. Little's new opera, JFK, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek, will receive its world première performance at Fort Worth Opera.

It is the composer's third opera after Soldier Songs (2011) and Dog Days (2012).
The opera offers an intimate portrait of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on the eve of the President's fateful trip to Dallas. Set in downtown Fort Worth's historic Hotel Texas, the opera recounts moments from the couples' personal and political lives. (reproduced from the Fort Worth Opera website)
The cast includes baritone Matthew Worth (President John F. Kennedy), mezzo soprano Daniela Mack (Jacqueline Kennedy), soprano Talise Trevigne (maid Clara Harris), tenor Sean Panikkar (secret serviceman Henry Rathbone) and bass baritone Daniel Okulitch (Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson). Steven Osgood conducts the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Thaddeus Strassberger directs.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Today : world première of Peter Aderhold's 'Orlando' in Braunschweig

Today, Peter Aderhold's new opera, Orlando, with a libretto by Sharon L. Joyce after Virginia Woolf's novel will be performed for the first time in Braunschweig, in the Kleines Haus.

It is Aderhold's third opera after Odysseus und der Fremde (Munich, 2001) and Luther (Erfurt, 2003).
At the beginning of the action, Orlando is a young man in 16th century England, 'favorite ' of the Queen. He falls in love with the Russian girl Sascha, but she leaves him. As a man of letters, he experiences an artistically devastating self criticism. Consequently, he leaves his homeland. The now immortal Orlando lives through the centuries, experiencing their different social structures and discovering their inherent achievements. But one day he wakes up with the opposite gender and lives henceforth as a woman. During all this time, Orland keeps working on his poem The Oak Tree. (adapted from the original German on the theater's website).
The cast includes mezzo Milda Tubelyte (Orlando), mezzo Lydia Moellenhoff (Virginia Woolf), soprano Mirella Hagen (Sascha), mezzo Anne Schuldt (Pepita), tenor Matthias Stier (Queen) and bass Rossen Krastev (Nick Greene). Christopher Hein conducts the Staatsorchester Braunschweig. Roland Schwab directs.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

3 new programme books in my collection

I have recently received in the mail the programme books for the 3 following contemporary operas :

- Sidney Corbett : Die Andere, Magdeburg, March 18, 2016 ;
- Alexander Muno : Sogno d'un mattino di primavera, Detmold, April 8, 2016 ;
- Hans Thomalla : Kaspar Hauser, Freiburg, April 9, 2016.

 The first one is a 36 pages brochure. It contains :

- The synopsis ;
- Die biblische Vorlage (excerpt from the Bible, Genesis 11) ;
- Stammvater Abraham, by Hans Küng ;
- Auf der Suche nach den Erzvätern, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman ;
- color photos of rehearsals ;
- conversation with librettist Christoph Hein and composer Sidney Corbett, by Ulrike Schröder ;
- Monotheismus und Gewalt, by Jan Assmann ;
- an excerpt of the libretto ;
- Die Musik weiß, was sie braucht, by composer Sidney Corbett ;
- Scheiternde Väter, by Jürgen Ebach ;
- Ein Leben in Polygamie, by Rosaline Massado ;
- Gefährliche Symbolpolitik, by Susanne Knaul ;
- biographies of Sidney Corbett and Christoph Hein.

It is entirely in German. Attached are a 16 pages booklet with the complete libretto in German, and a leaflet with the complete cast and crew.

The second is a 68 pages brochure. It contains :

- color photos of rehearsals ;
- complete cast and crew ;
- the synopsis ;
- Alexander Muno und Gabriele d'Annunzio ;
- Der Dichter Gabriele d'Annunzio : Todgesagte leben länger ;
- Psychologische Funktion der Farben, by Harald Braehm ;
- Trauma & Dissoziation ;
- Rot ist die Strassfarbe, by Harald Braehm ;
- the composer's biography ;
- Die Abgründigkeit des Textes, a dialogue with the composer.

It is entirely in German.

The third one is a 24 pages brochure. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- the synopsis ;
- Kaspar Hauser Lied, by Georg Trakl ;
- Pro und Contra Kaspar Hauser ;
- several color photos of rehearsals ;
- Von Stiliseirungen und Meteoriten, excerpts reproduced from the magazine Die deutsche Bühne ;

It is entirely in German.

I know have 407 programme books for contemporary operas. The scanned covers are available in this flickr folder.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

New recordings in my collection : American operas released by Pentatone

I have recently acquired two recordings of American operas released by Pentatone :

- John Corigliano : The Ghosts of Versailles, recorded live at the Los Angeles Music Center in February and March 2015. James Conlon conducts a cast including Kristinn Sigmundsson (Louis XVI), Christopher Maltman (Beaumarchais), Patricia Racette (Marie Antoinette), Lucas Meachem (Figaro), Lucy Schaufer (Susanna), Joshua Guerrero (Count Almaviva) and Guanqun Yu (Rosina).

- Jennifer Higdon : Cold Mountain, recorded live at the Santa Fe Opera in August 2015.Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts a cast including Nathan Gunn (W. P. Inman), Ada Monroe (Isabel Leonard), Emily Fons (Ruby Thewes), Jay Hunter Morris (Teague) and Roger Honeywell (Solomon Veasey).

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Today : world première of Bernhard Lang's 'Der Golem' in Mannheim

Today, the Nationaltheater Mannheim presents the world première of Bernhard Lang's new opera, Der Golem (music theatre in 22 chapters), with a libretto by Peter Missotten after Gustav Meyrink's novel.

Bernhard Lang already composed several pieces of music theater, including Das Theater der Wiederholungen (Graz, 2003), Schachoper (Vienna, 2005) and Der Reigen (Schwetzingen, 2012).
Pernath's life is breaking apart : he is brought to life with real intrigues, experiencing hallucinations and falling into spiritualistic intricacies. He meets the merchant Wassertrum, who is very rich and rules the ghetto. Charousek, the merchant's illegitimate son, follows relentlessly his father to their death. Pernath finds relief in the presence of Rabbi Hillel an his daughter Miriam, and crosses the path of the Golem, a surreal creature. With the help of old tarot cards, he appears as Pernath's doppelganger. (freely adapted from the NTM website).
The cast includes baritone Raymond Ayers (Athanasius Pernath), countertenor Alin Deleanu (Charousek / Wassertrum), soprano Astrid Kessler (Angelina / Waitress), bass baritone Steven Scheschareg (Athanasius Pernath Double / Hillel) and mezzo Marie-Belle Sandis (Miriam). Joseph Trafton conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Peter Missotten directs.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Today : world première of Hans Thomalla's 'Kaspar Hauser' in Freiburg

Today, Hans Thomalla's second opera, Kaspar Hauser, opera in three acts with a libretto by the composer, will be performed by the Theater Freiburg.

It is Thomalla's second opera after Fremd (Stuttgart, 2011).
In May 1828, a strange young man appears suddenly in Nuremberg. He moves strangely, produces strange noises and repeats hearsay in a strangely distorted language. All attempts to solve the mystery of his identity may prove inconclusive, making it the perfect projection screen for the sensationalism of the population, a society that is obsessed to fill the void of his biography. Without origin, language and civilization, he is the object of medical, educational and pseudo-scientific experiments. (reproduced from the Oper Köln website)
The cast includes countertenor Xavier Sabata (Kaspar Hauser) and several singers as citizens from Nuremberg and Ansbach. Daniel Carter conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra Freiburg. Frank Hilbrich directs.

Today : world première of Lisa Lim's 'Tree of Codes' in Cologne

Today, Liza Lim's new opera, Tree of Codes, with a libretto by the composer after Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes and Bruno Schulz' Street of Crocodiles, will be performed in Cologne, in the Staatenhaus, Saal 3.

It is the composer's fourth opera after The Oresteia (Melbourne, 1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (Adelaide, 2000), and The Navigator (Brisbane, 2008).
The story begins with the intimation of a time and place that are both original and apocalyptic: fertile soils and magma, in which human characters and animals speak an identical language and blend together. Time stands still, enabling the narrative to move forwards in several directions, opening many possible paths. The identity and opposition principles don’t apply anymore: objects are what they are and something more, a woman is both a desirable figure and a repulsive animal, the son blends in with the father, and the father with the bird. The last picture comes back to the first one and the loop comes full circle: the son takes his father’s place. (reproduced from the composer's website)
The cast includes soprano Emily Hindrichs (Adela), high baritone Christian Miedl (Son / Doctor), Carl Rosman (Mutant Bird) and actor Yael Rion (Father). Clement Power conducts the Ensemble musikFabrik and Massimo Furlan directs.

The orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes (I doubling piccolo and bass flute, II doubling piccolo and subcontrabass flute), oboe (doubling English horn), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), bassoon ;
- horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium ;
- percussion, piano, toy piano ;
- string quintett.

The opera should last about 75 minutes.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Today : world première of Alexander Muno's 'Sogno d'un mattino di primavera' in Detmold

Today, the Landestheater Detmold presents the world première of Alexander Muno's opera Sogno d'un mattino di primavera (A Spring Morning's Dream), with a libretto inspired by Gabriele d'Annunzio.

It is the composer's second opera, after Vom Meer (2010), adapted from Henrik Ibsen's play.
Donna Isabella has gone insane after her lover was murdered. Since he died covered with blood in her arms, the intense red color, be it from a berry or an insect, revives the original horror. The doctor hopes to cure the madness with the help of Virginios, the victim's brother. Virginios brings relief to Isabella and she begins to dream of happiness. But hapiness is only for others and Isabella will only find relief in total oblivion, merging with nature. (freely adapted from the Landestheater Detmold website).
The cast includes soprano Eva Bernard (Isabella), mezzo Lotte Kortenhaus (Beatrice), mezzo Patricia Roach (Teodata), baritone Andreas Jören (Dottore), tenor Ewandro Stenzowski (Virginio), and soprano Kirsten Labonte (Simonetta). Lutz Rademacher conducts the Symphonic Orchestra of the Landestheater Detmold. Kay Metzger directs.

Today : world première of Bonnie Montgomery's 'Billy Blythe' in New York

Today, the Opera Ithaca company presents the world première of Bonnie Montgomery's folk opera Billy Blythe at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY.

The libretto by Britt Barber was inspired by Bill Clinton's autobiography and deals mainly with his youth in Arkansas.
The work is a snapshot of Clinton's life in 1959. His relationship with his family and several events reveal the inspiration, character, and vulnerability that resound throughout his life. (reproduced from Opera Ithaca website)
The cast includes baritone Garrett Obrycki (Billy Blythe), mezzo Dawn Pierce (Virginia Clinton), baritone Erik Angerhofer (Roger Clinton), bass baritone David Neal (Grandpa). Richard Montgomery conducts and Norm Johnson directs.