Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Yesterday, I have received in the mail two programme books from the Danish Royal Opera :
- John Frandsen : Martyriet, January 28, 2017 (world première) ;
- Jake Heggie : Dead Man Walking, January 24, 2017 (new production).
The first one is a 12 pages leaflet. It contains :
- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- three short articles on Kaj Munk and the opera.
It is entirely in Danish.
The second is 44 pages book. It contains :
- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- several colour photos of rehearsals ;
- Making a man out of a murderer, an interview of director Orpha Phelan, by dramaturg Louise Nabe ;
- A room for forgiveness, by prison chaplain Peter Walin ;
- The death penalty in Denmark - a historical review, by historian Thomas Oldrup ;
- biographies of production team.
It is entirely bilingual Danish / English, except the biographies.
The scanned covers of the 445 programme books of contemporary operas I have in my collection are available in this flickr folder.
Monday, 27 February 2017
Today, the English National Opera in London presents the world première of Ryan Wigglesworth's opera The Winter's Tale, with a libretto by the composer adapted from Shakespeare's play.
It is the composer's first opera.
Many years ago, in the grip of a jealous rage, King Leontes caused the death of his loyal wife Hermione and their young son. All seemed lost for him. But now, as spring blossoms, Leontes stands repentant before a statue of his queen, praying for a miracle of redemption. (reproduced from the ENO website)
The cast includes bass baritone Iain Paterson (Leontes), soprano Sophie Bevan (Hermione), mezzo Samantha Price (Perdita), baritone Leigh Melrose (Polixenes), tenor Anthony Gregory (Florizel) and mezzo Susan Bickley (Paulina). The composer conducts the ENO Chorus and Orchestra. Rory Kinnear directs.
According the Schott Music publisher website, the required orchestra is the following :
- 4 flutes (3. doubling piccolo, 4. doubling piccolo and alto flute), 2 oboes, 1 English horn, 3 clarinets (2. and 4. doubling bass clarinets), 2 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon ;
- 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- timpani and 3 percussionists (including suspended cymblas, anvil, tubular bells, maracas, tam-tam crash cymbal and templblocks) ;
- harp and strings (12-10-8-6-5).
The performance should last about 2 h 05 minutes, including a 25 minutes interval.
Saturday, 25 February 2017
Today, the Arizona Opera in Tucson presents its first world première, with the oper Riders of the Purple Sage, composed by Craig Bohmler, with a libretto by Steven Mark Kohn after Zane Grey's novel.
It is Bohmler's second opera after The Tale of the Nutcracker (San Jose, 1999).
It is the story of Jane Withersteen and her battle to overcome persecution by members of her polygamous Mormon fundamentalist church. A leader of the church, Elder Tull, wants to marry her. Withersteen gets help from a number of friends, including Bern Venters and Lassiter, a famous gunman and killer of Mormons. Throughout most of the novel she struggles with her "blindness" to the evil nature of her church and its leaders, and tries to keep Venters and Lassiter from killing the adversaries who are slowly ruining her. When she adopts a child, Fay, she abandons her beliefs and discovers her true love. A second plot strand tells of Venters and his escape to the wilderness with a girl named Bess, "the rustler's girl," whom he has accidentally shot. Venters falls in love with the girl while caring for her. Together they escape to the East, while Lassiter, Fay, and Jane, pursued by both Mormons and rustlers, escape into a paradise-like valley and topple a giant rock to forever close off the only way in or out. (reproduced from Wikipedia)The cast includes soprano Karin Wolverton (Jane Withersteen), baritone Morgan Smith (Lassiter), tenor Joshua Dennis (Bern Venters), soprano Amanda Opuszynski (Bess) and bass baritone Kristopher Irmiter (Bishop Dyer). Joseph Mechavich conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Arizona Opera and Fenlon Lamb directs.
According the opera website, the orchestra setting is the following :
- 2 flutes (piccolo), 2 oboes (English horn), 2 clarinets in Bb, 2 bassoons ;
- 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 1 trombone, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba ;
- timpani, percussion, mallets (vibes, xylophone, bells and chimes) ;
- harp, keyboard (piano and celeste) ;
The performance should last about 2 h 30, including intermission (3 acts, 40, 60 and 30 minutes). Further performances in Phoenix in March 2017.
Thursday, 23 February 2017
This Thursday morning, I have received the programme book published by the Staatstheater Karlsruhe for the world première performance of Avner Dorman's opera Wahnfried.
It is a 52 pages brochure. It contains :
- complete cast and crew ;
- color phots of rehearsals ;
- Familiendämmerung, detailed scene by scene synopsis ;
- Keine Randnotiz ! Zum Werk, by composer Avner Dorman ;
- Houston, wir haben ein Problem, Notizen zu Wahnfried, by librettists Lutz Hübner and Sarah Nemitz ;
- Zeittafel, chronology of Houston Chamberlain's life, from 1855 to 1945 ;
- Wagnertheater, zur Inszenierung, interview with stage director Keith Warner, by dramaturgist Raphael Rösler ;
- biographies of the artists, with color headshots ;
- biographies of the characters of the opera.
The programme is entirely in English.
I now have 443 programme books for contemporary operas. I have scanned the covers and uploaded them to this flickr folder.
Today, the Theater Dortmund presents the world première of Timo Jouko Herrmann's children opera Hamlet - Sein oder Nichtsein (Hamlet - To be or not to be), with a libretto by André Meyer based on William Shakespeare's play.
(c) CTK Photo/Michal Krumphanzl
It is the composer's second opera after Unreine Tragödien und aussätzige Dramatiker (after Chekhov, 2004).
Hamlet feels abandoned and betrayed after his father's early death and his mother's marraige. The ghost of his father appears in his imagination and orders him to avenge his death on the stepfather. The young prince is experiencing chaotic feelings ; the voices in his head, his love for Ophelia, the new situation at the court are overwhelming for the young boy. (freely adapted from the Theater Dortmund website)The cast includes baritone Fabio Lesuisse (Hamlet), soprano Anna Lucia Struck (Ophelia) and actors Andreas Ksienzyk (Claudius), Rainer Kleinespel (Polonius) and Bettina Zobel (Gertrud). Ingo Martin Stadtmüller conducts members of the Philharmonic Orchestra Dortmund and the Opera Chorus. Ronny Jakubaschk directs.
The orchestra setting is the following (according to the composer's website) : 2 percussionists, 1 piano (also playing celesta) and strings (18.104.22.168.1 or more).
The performance should last about 70 minutes.
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Today, the 2e2m Ensemble presents the world première of Sébastien Gaxie's Je suis un homme ridicule (I'm a ridiculous man), in Vitry-sur-Seine, with a libretto by Volodia Serre inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel.
It is the composer's second opera after Lunfardo (Bagnolet, 2005).
Wearied of the world, diverted from the final act by the fortuitous encounter with a little girl, a man falls into a deep sleep. His dream leads him to a utopian universe, double of Earth, a world where men live well, free and happy, a world that, despite himself, he will do his utmost to pervert. (reproduced from the 2e2m website)The cast includes baritone Lionel Peintre and actor Lionel Gonzalez. The Musicatreize Ensemble is conducted by Pierre Rouillier. Volodia Serre directs.
The performance should last about 1 hour. There will be 5 more performances in Paris (Théâtre de l'Athénée Louis Jouvet) between February 25th and March 4th.
Monday, 20 February 2017
Today, the Teatro Real in Madrid presents the world première of Elena Mendoza's opera La cuidad de las mentiras (City of Lies), with a libretto by Matthias Rebstock.
(c) Guillermo Mendo
It is Mendoza's third work of musical theatre, after Ich bin Du oder der Raub der Futurina (Dresden, 2004) and Niebla (Dresden, 2007). The libretto is inspired by four stories of Juan Carlos Onetti.
It is a drama about the loneliness and fantasies of four women: two singers, an accordion player and a violist. Each hides, in her own way, in a parallel existence which is at once irrational and compassionate, an attempt to survive in a world of social hypocrisy, desperation and isolation of the individual. The action takes place in Onetti’s symbolic city of Santa María, one of interior spaces where windows and stairs are the only link to the outside world. The central point of this restricted universe is a bar. The men of Santa Maria gather here and give full rein to all manner of rumors and scandal. By way of their gossip, we discover the inevitable masquerades of the four women. Some are absurd and even tinged with comedy, but they are, in fact, much more worthy than so-called reality. (reproduced from the Teatro Real website)The cast includes soprano Katia Guedes (Gracia), soprano Laia Falcón (Mujer de 'El sueño realizado'), accordionist Anne Landa (Carmen) and violist Anna Spina (Moncha). Titus Engel conducts the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. Matthias Rebstock directs.
The score is published by Edition Peters. According to the published, the required orchestra is the following :
- 1 flute, 2 clarinets ;
- 1 trombone ;
- 3 percussionists ;
- piano ;
- string quintet ;
- on stage : 1 clarinet, 1 violin, 1 viola, 1 cello, accordion.
The performance should last about 90 minutes, with no intermission. The programme book is available for download on the Teatro Real website. It is entirely in Spanish and contains a plot summary in English.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
Today, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin presents the world première of Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini's
Edward II., with a libretto by Thomas Jonigk.
(c) Janis Huber
It is the composer's third opera after Wut (Erfurt, 2006) and Der Sandmann (Basel, 2012). Thomas Jonigk's libretto is based on Christopher Marlowe's homonymous play and Ralph Holinshed's Chronicles of England.
Edward II keeps bad company, and the friend he needs least is Piers de Gaveston. The king’s childhood playmate and favourite pal, Gaveston is showered with power and fiefdoms, to the annoyance of the peers of England. So it is that Edward’s regency is overshadowed by assorted conflicts revolving around this resented friendship. When the nobles finally take their revenge, the battle lines are drawn between peers and loyalists and a period of violence and bloodshed ensues. The protégé is murdered; the king is deposed and, according to folklore, killed in a particularly gory manner. (reproduced from the Deutsche Oper Berlin's website)The cast includes baritone Michael Nagy (Edward II.), soprano Agneta Eichenholz (Isabella), tenor Ladislav Elgr (Piers de Gaveston), bass baritone Andrew Harris (Roger Mortimer), tenor Burkhard Ulrich (Walter Langton) and tenor James Kryshak (Lightborn). Thomas Søndergard conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Christof Loy directs.
The full score of the opera is available on the Bärenreiter Verlag website. According to the score, the required orchestra is the following :
- 3 flutes (3. also piccolo and bass flute), 3 oboes, 3 clarinets (1. and 2. also basset horns, 3. also bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3. also contraforte) ;
- 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets, 3 tenorbass trombones (3. also bass trombone), 1 contrabass tuba ;
- synthesizer, 2 harps, percussion (5 players) ;
- strings (12-12-10-8-6) ;
The performance should last about 90 minutes, with no interval. It seems there is no broadcast planned yet.
Saturday, 18 February 2017
Today, the Chicago Opera Theater presents the world première of The Invention of Morel by Stewart Copeland, with a libretto by Jonathan Moore and the composer after the novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares.
It is the composer's third opera after The Cask of Amontillado (1993) and Tell Tale Heart (2010).
A fugitive from justice has found refuge on a remote island. There is rumor of a strange disease connected to this deserted place. Suddenly a group of exotic tourists arrive. He fears arrest but falls in love with one of the intruders. To meet her would be to risk everything but his heart drags him to her. She ignores him completely ! Soon he is barging in on the tourists' strangely anachronistic party, wailing for attention. Why won't she acknowledge him, why won't they arrest him ? What are those machines in the basement ? And why does she keep repeating the same conversation with that Morel ? (reproduced from the Music Sales Classical website)The cast includes baritone Andrew Wilkowske (Fugitive), baritone Lee Gregory (Narrator), soprano Valerie Vinzant (Faustine), tenor Nathan Granner (Morel) and soprano Kimberly E. Jones (Dora). Andreas Mitisek conducts the Fulcrum Point New Music Project. Jonathan Moore directs.
According to the publisher's website, the required orchestra is the following :
- 1 flute, 1 clarinet, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon ;
- 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 bass trombone ;
- 2 percussion players ;
- acoustic and electric guitar, piano ;
- string quintet.
The venue is the Studebaker Theater. The performance should last about 85 minutes.