Thursday, 26 May 2016

Today : world première of Moritz Eggert's 'Terra Nova' in Linz

Today, the Landestheater Linz presents the world première of Terra Nova, an opera in three acts composed by Moritz Eggert, with a libretto by Franzobel (a.k.a. Franz Stefan Griebl) and Rainer Mennicken.

Moritz Eggert has already composed several musical theatre pieces and operas, including Helle Nächte (Munich, 1997), Freax (Bonn, 2007), Linkerhand (Hoyeswerda, 2009) and All diese Tage (Bremen, 2011).
An apocalyptic scenario : The world government under President Ruler has not been able to prevent the exploitation and step-by-step destruction of the Earth. But Pandura, the state-certified astronomer, promises a specific utopia. A paradisiacal “sister planet” with seemingly peaceful and immortal aliens has contacted the Earth. Does this offer a chance at surviving in outer space ?! (reproduced from the Landestheater Linz website)
The cast includes tenor Jacques le Roux (Ruler), soprano Mari Moriya (Lara alias Chang'e), Anaïs Lueken (Marylin), mezzo Katerina Hebelkova (Pandura), baritone Martin Achrainer (Kolker) and tenor Sven Hjörleifsson (Armstrong). Dennis Russell Davies conducts the Bruckner Orchester Linz and the Chorus of the Landestheater Linz.

The orchestra is the following :

- 1 piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 bass tuba ;
- timpani, 2 percussionists, 1 harp, electric guitar, electric bass, organ / keyboards / piano ;
- strings

The performance should last about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The score is published by Sikorski.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Today : world première of Kevin March's 'Les Feluettes' ('Lillies') in Montréal

Today, the Opéra de Montréal presents the world première of Les Feluettes (Lillies), composed by Australian composer Kevin March, with a libretto (in French) by Michel Marc Bouchard after his own play.

Kevin March has already composed three chambers operas : : A 21st Century Romance (2001), Leading Lady (2004) and Razing Hypatia (2010).
In 1952 a group of ex-prisoners under the direction of Simon trap a bishop, Jean Bilodeau, and recreates a series of events for him that took place 40 years earlier when Simon and Bilodeau were at school in Roberval, a small town in Northern Quebec. Simon was in love with a young count, a ruined French aristocrat exiled with his mother (who had become mad while waiting for her husband's return and the fall of the Third Republic that would signal the return of the monarchy and the family's status). The ex-prisoners recount the troubled love story of the count and Simon and the attempts by Bilodeau to come between them. The actors are trying to get the bishop to admit to the real circumstances surrounding the death of the young count, a death for which Simon was unjustly condemned. (reproduced from the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia)
The cast includes baritone Étienne Dupuis (Simon Doucet young), tenor Jean- Michel Richer (Le Comte Vallier de Tilly), baritone Gino Quilico (Simon Doucet old), tenor Gordon Gietz (Monseigneur Bilodeau), baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson (La Comtesse Marie-Laure de Tilly), coutertenor Daniel Cabena (MademoiselleLydie-Anne de Rozier), tenor James McLennan (Jean Bilodeau) and bass Claude Grenier (Timothée Doucet). Timothy Vernon conducts the Opéra de Montréal Orchestra and Chorus. Serge Denoncourt directs.

The opera is performed at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier and should last about 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one interval. As a coproduction between Opéra de Montréal and Pacific Opera Victoria, the opera will be performed at the Royal Theatre in Victoria (BC) in April 2017 with the same cast.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Today : world première of Hannah Lash's 'Beowulf' in Boston

Today, Guerilla Opera presents the world première performance of Hannah Lash's opera Beowulf, with a libretto by the composer, at the Boston Conservatory (Zack Box Theater).

It is the composer's first opera. The libretto is based on the Old English epic poem written between the 8th and early 11th century by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet. The libretto investigates what it means to be a hero.
Beowulf is a doctor caring for his elderly mother and suffering from Post-Traumatic Stresses upon his return from a recent war. (reproduced from the Guerilla Opera website)
The cast includes baritone Brian Church (Beowulf), soprano Aliana de la Guardia (Mother) and tenor Brendan Buckley (Nurse). Andrew Eggert directs. The singers are accompanied by clarinet, saxophone, violin and percussion.

The performance of this chamber opera in 2 acts should last about 80 minutes. The production program, synopsis and libretto can be downloaded from the Guerilla Opera website.

In 2006, another opera with a libretto after the same poem was composed by Elliot Goldenthal and directed by Julie Taymor. Commissioned by Los Angeles Opera, it was given its world premiere at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on June 8, 2006.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Today : world première of Eriks Esenvalds's 'The Immured' in Riga

Today, the Latvian National Opera presents the world première performance of The Immured, an opera in two acts composed by Ēriks Ešenvalds with a libretto by Inese Zandere.

It is the composer's second opera after Joseph is a Fruitful Bough (2007).
The opera about the construction of a library, and the sacrifices without which nothing great can ever be created. It’s a modern-day legend, whose sources are found in the folklore of various European cultures, as well as in modern Latvian society. The heroes of this tale are artists and masons, librarians and politicians, their love and betrayal, faith and responsibilities. (reproduced from the Latvian National Opera website)
The cast includes tenor Raimonds Bramanis (Architect), baritone Jānis Apeinis (Builder), mezzo Laura Grecka (Poet), soprano Inga Šļubovska (Librarian), bass Rihards Mačanovskis (President) and soprano Kristīne Gailīte (Minister). Māris Sirmais conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Latvian National Opera. Laura Groza-Ķibere directs.

The performance should last about 3 hours. The first performance will be broadcast live by the Latvian National Radio.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

New in my collection : 3 programme books for contemporary operas

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

- Viktor Åslund : Der Steppenwolf, Würzburg, May 7, 2016 ;
- Bernhard Lang : Der Golem, Mannheim, April 16, 2016 ;
- Helmut Oehring : Agota ?, Wiesbaden, May 4, 2016.

The first one is a 36 pages brochure, entirely in German. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- Tractat vom Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse ;
- color photos of rehearsals ;
- Verschmitzte Suggestionskraft, by Christoph Blitt ;
- Lerne, zu lachen !, by Hermann Hesse (the end of the novel Der Steppenwolf) ;
- Entdecke den Steppenwolf in dir !, by librettist Rainer Lewandowski ;
- Ein Spiel mit musikalischen Identitäten, by composer Viktor Åslund ;
- Spaziergang in Würzburg, by Hermann Hesse ;
- biographies of the composer, the librettist, the conductor, the stage director and the costume and set designer, with headshots.

The second is a 88 pages book. It is entirely in German. It contains :

- cast and crew ;
- excerpts of the Gustav Meyrink novel ;
- biography of the composer ;
- synopsis ;
- color photos of the piano dress rehearsal (April 4, 2016) ;
- Von der Legende über den Roman zur Oper, by Merle Fahrholz ;
- Eine Ode an die Schizophrenie oder Musiktheater in 22 Kapiteln, by Christine Dysers with musical quotes from the full score of the opera ;
- 22 Karten, die man auflegt wie ein Orakel, by Merle Farhrholz (interview withe the composer and the librettist and director Peter Missotten) ;
- Jetzt und für immer, by Tilman Baumgärtel ;
- Gustav Mayrink und der Okkultismus, by Jean-Jacques Pollet ;
- Der Golem des Hoch-Rabbi-Löw, poem by A. M. Tendlau ;
- Vom Siegeszug der künstlichen Intelligenz, by Hans Moravec ;
- Glossar zum Textbuch von Der Golem ;
- complete libretto.

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

- complete cast and crew ;
- the work structure ;
- Agota Kristof : Muttersprache - Feindessprachen - Schicksalsprache ;
- Das Autoren-Team : Komposition - Textbuch - Sounddesign ;
- In-Schriften, by Stefanie Wördermann, dialogue with sound designer Torsten Ottersberg and composer Helmut Oehring.

I know have 414 programme books for contemporary operas in my collection. I have uploaded all the scanned covers to this flickr folder.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Today : world première of Iain Bell's 'In Parenthesis' in Cardiff

Today, the Welsh National Opera presents the world première of Iain Bell's In Parenthesis, with a libretto by David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins after the epic poem by Welsh poet David Jones.

© Peter M Mayr
It is the composer's third opera after A Harlot's Progress (Vienna, 2013) and A Christmas Carol (Houston, 2014).
Private John Ball and his comrades in the Royal Welch Fusiliers are posted to the Somme. In Mametz Wood they enter a strange realm – outside of time, dream-like but deadly. Even here amongst the destruction, a fragile flowering of regeneration and re-birth can be found. (reproduced from the WNO website).
The cast includes tenor Andrew Bidlack (Private John Ball), baritone Peter Coleman-Wright (Bard of Brittannia / HQ Officer), soprano Alexandra Deshorties (Bard of Germania / Alice the Barmaid / The Queen of the Woods), baritone George Humphreus (Lieutenant Jenkins), baritone Marcus Farnsworth (Lance Corporal Lewis) and tenor Graham Clark (The Marne Sergeant). Carlo Rizzi conducts the WNO Chorus and Orchestra. David Pountney directs.

After performances in Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre, the opera will tour to Birmingham (June 10) and the Royal Opera House in London (June-July). The opera will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on July 2.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Today : world première of Brice Pauset's 'Wonderful Deluxe' in Luxembourg

Today, th new opera composed by Brice Pauset, Wonderful Deluxe, with a libretto in French by Youness Anzane, will be performed in Luxembourg, at the Studio theatre.

It is a monodrama for counter tenor, five voices and ensemble. The libretto was inspired by Baruch Spinoza's Ethics.
Brice Pauset’s first monodrama Exercices du silence was inspired by the life of 17th century French mystic Louise du Néant, whose life is documented in letters to her confessors. In contrast, his second monodrama Wonderful Deluxe takes as its muse a modern day celebrity uniquely created by the media, and then treated as a commodity at constant risk of destruction.(reproduced from the Theatre website)
The main character is performed by counter tenor Dominique Visse (Azonips). Other parts have been written for members of the Britten Chorus : soprano Julia Wischniewski (L'attachée de presse), mezzo Caroline Gesret (La psy pour chien), alto Mélodie Ruvio (La Cuisinière), tenor Benjamin Alunni (Le Jardinier), and baritone Mathieu Gardon (Le Camériste). The composer conducts the United Instruments of Lucilin. Stéphane Ghislain Roussel directs.

The performance should last about 1 hour. The orchestra is the following :

- flute (also piccolo and bass flute), clarinet (also bass clarinet), saxophone (soprano and tenor) ;
- 2 percussionists, piano ;
- 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass.
(according to the Gravis publisher website).

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Today : world première of Lori Laitman's 'The Scarlet Letter' in Denver.

Today, Opera Colorado in Denver presents the world première performance of Lori Laitman's opera The Scarlet Letter, with a libretto by David Mason after Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel..

© Christian Steiner

It is the composer's third opera after Come to Me in Dreams (chamber opera, Cleveland, 2004) and Ludlow (Boulder, CO, 2012).
In old Boston, a young woman, Hester Prynne, has been charged with adultery and forced to wear the scarlet letter 'A' embroidered on her breast. Just as she mounts the scaffold to receive her sentence, her husband, long presumed dead and newly escaped from captivity among the Indians, arrives and recognizes her. This man, renamed as Roger Chillingworth, begins a quest to discover the father of Hester's child. As the community wrestles with whether or not to allow Hester to continue raising her daughter, Chillingworth moves in with the pale young minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, who hides the fact that he is the father of Hester's child. In a dark night of the soul, Arthur is taunted by a local witch, and it becomes clear that he is overcome with guilt and inner conflict about his past with Hester. The two lovers meet in the forest, plotting their escape, sure they can escape the laws and mores of men in this new world. But Dimmesdale cannot forget his guilt, and during an election day ceremony he confesses his sin to the crowd, exposing a branded letter 'A' over his own heart. Dimmesdale dies at the moment of his confession, and the opera moves out into a broader, lyrical sense of time in which its stories are at least partly resolved. (reproduced from the Scarlett Letter website)
The cast includes soprano Laura Claycomb (Hester Prynne), tenor Dominic Armstrong (Arthur Dimmesdale), baritone Malcolm MacKenzie (Roger Chillingworth), baritone Daniel Belcher (Governor Bellingham), mezzo Margaret Gawrysiak (Mistress Hibbons) and tenor Kyle Erdos-Knapp (John Wilson). Ari Pelto conducts the Opera Colorado Orchestra and Chorus. Beth Greenberg directs.

The orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes / Piccolo, 2 Oboes / English Horn, 2 Clarinets in B flat / Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons ;
- 2 Horns in F, Trumpet in C, Trombone ;
- timpani and percussion (Bass Drum, Chimes - high and low Eb, medium suspended Cymbal, Finger Cymbals, Gong, Snare Drum, Tambourine, Triangle ;
- Harp, Piano / Celesta ;
- Strings (8-8-6-4-2).

The performance should last about 2 hours. The venue is the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Today : world première of Paul Moravec's 'The Shining', in St. Paul

Today, the Minnesota Opera presents the world première performance of Paul Moravec's new opera, The Shining, with a libretto by Mark Campbell after Stephen King's novel.

It is the composer's second opera after The Letter (Santa Fe, 2009) based on the Somerset Maugham play.
As the Torrance family settles in at the infamous Overlook Hotel, Jack comes face to face with his own demons – real and imagined. Will he be able to protect his wife and son from the evil forces within the hotel ? (reproduced from the Minnesota Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Kelly Kaduce (Wendy Torrance), baritone Brian Mulligan (Jack Torrance), tenor Robb Asklof (Stuart Ullman, the hotel manager), Alejandro Vega (Danny Torrance), bass Arthur Woodley (Dick Hallorann, a cook) and tenor John Robert Lindsey (Lloyd, a bartender). Michael Chrisite conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Minnesota Opera. Eric Simonson directs.

The venue is the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St Paul, MN. The performance should last about 2 hours and 10 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.

Today : world première of Viktor Aslund's 'Der Steppenwolf' in Würzburg

Today, the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg presents the world première performance of Viktor Aslund's opera Der Steppenwolf, with a libretto by Rainer Lewandowski after Hermann Hesse's novel.

Viktor Aslund has composed music of multiple styles, including, progressive rock, rock songs, chamber music, music for theatre and orchestral music.
Hermann Hesse, highly acclaimed author, poet, novelist, critic of the rich bourgeoisie and expert in analysing life crises, published in 1927 an autobiographical novel with the title Der Steppenwolf. It mixes the author's boredom of everyday life, the outburst of repressed desires and the wish to overcome all constraints of conservative philistinism. (freely adapted from the Mainfranken Theater website).
The cast includes mezzo Polina Artsis (Maria), bass baritone Bryan Boyce, soprano Silke Evers, baritone Daniel Fiolka and soprano Anja Gutgesell. Sebastian Beckedorf conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra Würzburg. Anna Vita directs.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Today : world première of Louis Andriessen's 'Theatre of the World' in Los Angeles

Today, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra presents the world première performance of Louis Andriessen's new opera, Theatre of the World (A Grotesque in 9 scenes) at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

Louis Andriessen has already composed several operas, including ROSA The Death of a Composer (Amsterdam, 1994), Writing to Vermeer (Amsterdam, 1999) and La Commedia (Amsterdam, 2008).
A boy – Kircher himself, wannabe student, the devil? – takes Kircher and Pope Innocent XI (a patron) on a life-to-death journey across some of Kircher’s wide interests, and the dialogue is polyglot, sometimes within a single passage. The great Mexican mystic/scholar/poet/nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) was highly influenced by Kircher, and she appears as a sort of platonic intercontinental lover, singing passages from her long poem Primer sueño (First Dream). (reproduced from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra website)
The cast includes baritone Leigh Melrose (Athanasius Kircher a.k.a Padre Atanasio, 76 years old), soprano Lindsay Kesselman (A boy about twelve years), tenor Marcel Beekman (Papa Innocenzo XI), soprano Cristina Zavalloni (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) and actor Steven van Watermeulen (Janssonius, Kircher's publisher in Amsterdam). Reinbert de Leeuw conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Pierre Audi directs, with the Quay Brothers designing sets and videos.

The performance should last about 2 hours. The required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes (both = piccolo, 2nd = alto flute), 2 oboes (2nd = English horn), 2 clarinets (1st = alto saxophone, 2nd = tenor saxophone), 2 bass clarinets (1st = clarinet, 2nd = contrabass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd = contrabassoon) ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets (both = flugelhorn), 2 trombones
- timpani, percussion (African marimba, bass drum, bells, bongos, castanets, chains, cowbells, 5 cymbals, drum kit, glockenspiel, gongs, guiro, iron, lion’s roar, log drum, maracas, 2 metals, 2 snare drums, tambourine, tom-toms, triangle, tubular bells, unpitched bell or rattle or rasp, vibraphone, whip, woodblocks, xylophone)
- piano (= celesta), harp, synthesizer, electric guitar, bass guitar
- strings (reproduced from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra website)

After 2 performances in Los Angeles, the work will subsequently be performed by the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam in June 2016.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Today : world première of Helmut Oehring's 'Agota' in Wiesbaden

Today, the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden presents the world première of Helmut Oehring's new work for the stage : Agota ? Die Analphabetin, a melodrama with a libretto by Stefanie Wördemann after texts by Ágota Kristóf.

© Jens Oellermann

Since 1993, Helmut Oehring has composed numerous musical theatre pieces, including AscheMOND oder The Fairy Queen (2013).
The search for identity in a strange world: this is the fundamental subject matter permeating the narratives of Hungarian author Ágota Kristóf, who lived in exile in French-speaking Switzerland from 1956 until her death in 2011. Experiencing her “exiled language” as foreign until the end, this feeling of loss and the search for linguistic understanding became the very centre of Kristóf’s work.(reproduced from the Staatstheater Wiesbaden website)
The actress Dagmar Manzel plays the role of Agota, accompanied by the Ensemble Modern conducted by Peter Rundel. Ingo Kerkhof directs.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

New in my collection : programme book for Peter Aderhold's 'Orlando' in Braunschweig

This Tuesday morning, I have received in the mail the programme book published by the Staatstheater Braunschweig for the world première performance of Peter Aderhold's Orlando.

It is a 48 pages booklet. It contains :

- color photos of the production ;
- the complete cast and crew ;
- the synopsis ;
- biographies of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West ;
- Zur Virginia Woolfs "Orlando", by Heide Hollmer ;
- Alle Grenzen sprengen, by Sarah Grahneis : a discussion with composer Peter Aderhold and director Roland Schwab ;
- the complete libretto, by Sharon L. Joyce ;
- biographies : composer, librettist, conductor, director, set and costume designer, and singers, all with black & white headshots.

It is the 410th programme book for contemporary opera I have in my collection. All the scanned covers are in this flickr folder.