Saturday, 28 January 2017

Today : world première of John Frandsen's 'Martyriet' in Copenhagen

Today, the Cumulus Teatret presents the world première of John Frandsen's chamber opera Martyriet (The Martyrdom) at the Royal Danish Opera (Takkelloftet) in Copenhagen. The libretto in Danish was written by Vilhelm Topsøe.

It is the composer's 8th opera. His catalogue already includes Amalie (1995), i-k-o-n™ (2002), ½LELUJA (2002) and Et Dukkehjem (The Doll's House, after Henrik Ibsen, 2014).
Prior to World War II, Kaj Munk expressed great admiration for the German dictator Adolf Hitler. But during the Danish Occupation, he became such an outspoken opponent of the Nazi regime that he was liquidated by an SS patrol in January 1944. Kaj Munk gradually slips away from his family in his search for God’s plan for him. Meanwhile, his wife Lise tries in vain to persuade him to choose life as a father rather than martyrdom to his cause.(reproduced from the Danish Royal Opera website)
The cast includes countertenor Morten Grove Frandsen (Kaj Munk) and mezzo Liv Oddveig Midtmageli (Lise Munk).They are joined by the progressive folk music ensemble Kottos (recorders, accordion, bouzouki and cello). Tine Topsøe directs.

The performance should last about 75 minutes.

Today : world première of Avner Dorman's 'Wahnfried' in Karlsruhe

Today, the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe presents the world première performance of Avner Dorman's opera Wahnfried, with a libretto by Lutz Hübner and Sarah Nemitz.

It is the composer's first opera.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain is a failed entomologist, a Darwin enthusiast that cannot bring himself to kill a single bug. Unable to come up with his own grand theory, Chamberlain is looking for a different cause, a calling that would give meaning to his life. He finds his calling in the music of Richard Wagner, and in German nationalism.
Wagner's widow, Cosima, enlists Chamberlain to lead the effort to immortalize Wagner's music and link it forever with German nationalism. Chamberlain leaves his first wife and marries Wagner's daughter Eva. He proceeds to write his magnum opus The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, a book that becomes a seminal work in German nationalism. It is the first major work that advocates Aryan supremacy and promotes fighting Jewish influence.(reproduced from the Music Sales Classical website)
The cast includes tenor Matthias Wohlbrecht (Houston Stewart Chamberlain), alto Christina Niessen (Cosima Wagner), soprano Barbara Dobrzanska (Anna Chamberlain), countertenor Eric Jurenas or Andrew Watts (Siegfried 'Fidi' Wagner), soprano Ina Schlingensiepen (Winfred Wagner) and soprano Agnieszka Tomaszewska (Eva Chamberlain). Justin Brown conducts and Keith Warner directs.

The required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- timpani and 3 percussionists ;
- strings.

The performance should last about 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one interval. The programme book can be downloaded from the Theater website. A brochure on the opera is available on the Music Sales Classical website.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Today : world première of Robert Paterson's 'Three Ways' in Nashville

Today, the Nashville Opera presents the world première of Robert Paterson's new opera Three Ways, with a libretto by David Cote.

(c) Daniel Dottavio

It is the composer's second opera after The Whole Truth (New York, January 2016). Three Ways is a trilogy of one-acts, The Companion, Safe Word and Masquerade.
They explore the future of love, sex, and need. The contemporary characters collide at the intersection of power and desire to reveal the true longings of the human heart. (reproduced from the Nashville Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Danielle Pastin (Maya / Connie), tenor Samuel Levine (Joe / Marcus), baritone Wes Mason (Dax / Larry), mezzo Elisa Bonet (The Domme / Jilian Debridge) and bass Matthew Trevino (The Client / Bruce Debridge). Dean Williamson conducts the Nashville Opera Orchestra. John Hoomes directs.

The performance should last about 2 hours and 45 minutes, with two intervals. The venue is the James K. Polk Theater, TPAC. The opera will also be performed in New York, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Fishman Space), from June 15 to June 18.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Received this morning : programme book for Perocco's 'Aquagranda' in Venezia

This Monday morning, I have received in the mail the programme book published by Teatro La Fenice di Venezia for the world première of Filippo Perocco's Aquagranda.

It is a 152 pages book. It contains :

- color photos of rehearsals ;
- complete cast and crew ;
- Per una riflessione, cinquanta anni dopo, by Paolo Petazzi ;
- In breve, a short introduction to the opera ;
- the complete libretto by Roberto Bianchin and Luigi Cerantola ;
- Una conversazione con Damiano Michieletto, by Valerio Cappelli. Dialogue with the director ;
- Acqua granda, il romanzo dell'alluvione, by Roberto Bianchin, with lots of black & white photos of the 1966 flood.

There is a separate 10 pages leaflet with the cast and the biographies of the artists.

It is the 439th programme book for contemporary opera in my collection.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Two new programme books in my collection : 'Südseetulpen' and 'Crusades'

Last week, I have received two programme books for contemporary opera :

- Benjamin Schweitzer : Südseetulpen, Chemnitz, January 14, 2017 ;
- Ludger Vollmer : Crusades, Freiburg, January 14, 2017.

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

- complete cast and crew ;
- color photos of rehearsals ;
- synopsis ;
- Einmal eine Operette, dialogue with the composer Benjamin Schweitzer ;
- biographies of composer and librettist ;
- a short excerpt of the libretto ;
- Eine Blumenzwiebel für 87.000 Euro, by Winand von Petersdorf ;
- Die Südseeblase kam auch Isaac Newton teuer zu stehen, by Kerstin Papon ;
- biographies of the characters ;
- biographies of the artists (cast and crew).

The second is a 24 pages brochure. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- detailed plot ;
- Oper über Spätfolgen der Kreuzzüge, notes by composer Ludger Vollmer ;
- color photos of rehearsals ;
- 2 short texts by Simon Sebag Montefiore and Nizar Qabbani ;
- Wie soll Oper aktuell und politisch erzählen ? an article by Tiina Hartmann ;
- Von Glaubensdingen, Anmerkungen zur und von der Patenklasse.

Both brochures are entirely in German. I now have 437 programme books for contemporary operas, not including several books I only have as PDF. You can see all the covers in this flickr folder.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Today : world première of David Chaillou's 'Little Nemo' in Nantes

Today, the Angers Nantes Opéra presents the world première of David Chaillou's children opera Little Nemo at the Théâtre Graslin in Nantes.

The libretto in French by Olivier Balazuc and Arnaud Delalande is based on Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland.
Nemo has become a scary man, a scrupulousless speculator, with no dreams in his eyes. His childhood is merely a souvenir, when he was longing for the night to return to Slumberland, Morpheus' kingdom, to meet the sweet princess, beautiful as a dream. Forty years later, as the death of his mother brings him back home, it is time to cry, to reconcile himself with the child he was, with the child he lost, to finally fall asleep and get back to the dreams he has abandoned but that have never forgotten him. (freely adapted from the Angers Nantes Opéra website)
The cast includes mezzo soprano Chloé Briot (Nemo as a child), baritone Richard Rittelmann (Nemo as an adult / Flip), soprano Hadhoum Tunc (La Princesse / La fée Cristalette / Stella), bass Bertrand Bontoux (Le roi Morphée / Lunatrix) and tenor Florian Cafiero (Le Greffier / Docteur Pilule / Le Chambellan). Philippe Nahon conducts the Ars Nova Ensemble. Olivier Balazuc directs.

The programme book can be downloaded from the opera house website. The opera will be broadcast by France Musique on Sunday, January 29. There will be further performances in Dijon in February and in Angers in March.

This is at least the second adaptation of McCay's story for the opera stage : in November 2012, composer Daron Aric Hagen and librettist J. D. McClatchy presented their own work at the Sarasota Opera.

Today : world première of Ludger Vollmer's 'Crusades' in Freiburg

Today, the Theater Freiburg presents the world première performance of Ludger Vollmer's new opera, Crusades, with a libretto by Tina Hartmann.

It is the composer's sixth opera, after Gegen die Wand (Bremen, 2008), Border (Köln, 2012) and Lola rennt (Regensburg, 2013).
Jerusalem as a religious field of conflict that has lasted over thousands of years as well as the history of the destructive crusades form the foundation for a passionate love story that goes beyond religious borders – a story that could take place in the cultural mix of any European city today. (reproduced from the Theater Freiburg website)
The study score is available for perusal on the Schott music website. According to their website, the required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons ;
- 2 horns (2. doubling Schofar), 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 3 percussions ;
- piano, oud ;
- strings.

The opera is in four acts and an epilogue. The cast includes baritone Alejandro Lárraga Schleske (Bernhard von Clairvaux / Omar), tenor Ünüsan Kuloglu (Maciel), , tenor Christoph Waltle (Hl. Franziskus / Gabriel), mezzo Sirin Kilic (Tamar), soprano Kim-Lillian Strebel (Safiye / Rabia von Basra) and bass Jin Seok Lee (Papst Urban II / Imam Ibrahim / Oberrabiner von Israel). Daniel Carter conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Theater Freiburg. Neco Celik directs.

The opera should last about two hours.

Today : world première of Benjamin Schweitzer's 'Südseetulpen' in Chemnitz

Today, the Theater Chemnitz presents the world première performance of Benjamin Schweitzer new operetta, Südseetulpen (Tulips of the South Sea), with a libretto by Constantin von Castenstein.

(c) Andreas Sparberg

It is the composer's third work for the stage after the chamber opera Jakob von Gunten (2000) and the tragicomedy Dafne (2006).
John Blunt and George Caswall, two financial geniuses of 18th century England are given the monopoly of trade with the South Seas colonies by Queen Anne when they pay all the war debts of the Crown. They set up the South Sea Company and set off on a journey to boost a buoyant trade. The fact that they come only to Jamaica and have nothing to import except for a clever governor, the exotic beauty of Pandora and a flower bulb is not noticed in England - the rumor of treasures makes the price of the new share skyrocket on the financial market. When the Queen unexpectedly sets an end to the Spanish Succession War and the fraud is discovered, the angry investors demand their money back. But Blunt and Caswall have already left England, with only a single flower-bulb in their luggage... (freely adapted from the Theater Chemnitz website)

The study score is available for perusal on the Schott music website. According to their website, the required orchestra is the following :

- 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, alto sax, 2 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 4 percussion ;
- harp, harpsichord, piano ;
- strings.

The operetta is in two acts and the performance should last about two hours, interval not included. The cast includes mezzo soprano Elisabeth Holmer (Das Glück / Pandora 1), alto Sophia Maeno (Lady Margaret Hamilton), tenor Reto Rosin (John Blunt), baritone Andreas Kindschuh (George Caswall) and bass baritone Hans Gröning (Sir Robert Harley / Peter Stuyvesant). Ekkehard Klemm conducts the Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie and the Chemnitz Opera Chorus. Robert Lehmeier directs.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Today : world première of 'The Dictator's Wife' by Mohammed Fairouz in Washington

Today, the Washington National Opera and American Opera Initiative present the world première performance of Mohammed Fairouz's new opera, The Dictator's Wife, with a libretto by Mohammed Hanif based on his own play.

It is the composer's second opera after Sumeida's Song, first performed in New York in 2013. A recording of this opera has been published by Bridge Records.
The glamorous yet tormented wife of a once-powerful dictator bemoans that she is now having to answer for all of the terrible atrocities committed by her husband, who has "taken to cowering in the bathroom" as the country falls apart. (reproduced from the Kennedy Center website)
The cast includes mezzo soprano Allegra De Vita (First Lady), soprano Ariana Wehr (Ms. Holy), baritone Hunter Enoch (ADC), mezzo soprano Leah Hawkins (I Will See My Children Mom), tenor Rexford Tester (Give-Me-Cheap-Petrol Protestor) and bass Timothy J. Bruno (Death Row Dad). The ensemble will be conducted by Nicole Paiement and directed by Ethan McSweeny.

The performance should last about 1 hour, with no intermission.