Thursday, 30 November 2017

Today : world première of 'The House Without A Christmas Tree' by Ricky Ian Gordon in Houston (TX)

Today, the Houston Grand Opera presents the world première of The House Without A Christmas Tree, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek based on the original story by Gail Rock.

It is the composer's fifth opera after The Grapes of Wrath (Minneapolis, February 10, 2007), Morning Star (Cincinnati, June 2013), A Coffin in Egypt (Houston, March 14, 2014) and 27 (St. Louis, June 14, 2014).
Addie Mills is smart and energetic, just like the mother she never knew. Addie has no idea why her father resents the holidays so intensely, refusing even to allow a Christmas tree in the house. But when she brings home a tree she won in a school contest, it paves the way for a miracle of sorts — her father’s broken soul is transformed. (reproduced from the Houston Grand Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Lauren Snouffer (Addie Mills), baritone Daniel Belcher (James Addison Mills III 'Dad'), soprano Patricia Schuman (Grandma Mills), soprano Heidi Stober (Miss Thompson / Helen Mills / Adelaide Mills), mezzo soprano Megan Mikailovna Samarin (Carla Mae), soprano Elisabeth Leone (Gloria Cott) and tenor Maximilian Macias (Billy Wild). Bradley Moore conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Juvenile Chorus. James Robinson directs.

The performance should last about 80 minutes. The venue is the Resilience Theater, in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

4 new recent program books in my collection

I have recently acquired 4 new program books for contemporary operas :

- Arnulf Herrmann, Der Mieter, Frankfurt, November 12, 2017 ;
- Krzysztof Knittel, The Last Judgement, Gdansk, November 9, 2017 ;
- Nico Muhly, Marnie, London (ENO), November 18, 2017 ;
- Salvatore Sciarrino, Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo, Milano (Teatro alla Scala), November 14, 2017.

The first one is a 96 pages book. It contains :

- crew for the production ;
- synopsis of the opera ;
- Das Klopfen der Nachbarn und das zerbrechende Glas, interview of composer Arnulf Herrmann and librettist Händl Klaus by dramatugist Zsolt Horpacsy ;
- Markus Böggemann : Energien, erfahrbar gemarcht (über Arnulf Herrmann) ;
- Kazushi Ono : Ein Gefühl des Schwankens (Anmerkungen zur Musik von Der Mieter) ;
- Alles Falle, interview of director Johannes Erath and set designer Kaspar Glarner by dramaturgist Zsolt Horpacsy ;
- Anja Petersen : Wie im Schwindel ;
- Memoiren eines alten Arschlochs, Portrait von Roland Topor ;
- Alexander Garcia Düttmann : Verwandlung, Gedanken zu Roland Topors Roman Le Locataire chimérique ;
- Georg Hensel : Ein Sonntagsmaler des Grauens ;
- 16 pages of color photos of the production ;
- Händl Klaus : Hausmitteilung, Schutzdichtung für Muriel ;
- the complete libretto.

The programme book is entirely in German. At the end of it, there is a 3 pages synopsis in English. There is a separate 6 pages flyer with the complete cast and crew and a separate 12 pages booklet with biographies of the artists with black and white headshots.

The second one is a 24 pages booklet. It contains :

- complete cast and crew :
- a short article by composer Krzysztof Knittel ;
- biographies of artists with black and white headshots ;
- synopsis ;
- an article on Hans Memling's painting The Last Judgement, by Alicja Andrzejewska-Zajac and Magdalena Podgorzak.

It is entirely in Polish.

The third one is a 62 pages book. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- Nico Muhly : Writing 'Marnie' ;
 - a short excerpt of Winston Graham's original novel Marnie ;
- Paul Cremo ; Exploring 'Marnie' ;
- Winston Graham on 'Marnie', excerpt of Graham's Memoirs of a Private Man ;
- Paul Griffiths : Singing by Other Means : An Introduction to Nico Muhly's Music ;
- biographies of cast and crew, with black and white headshots. 

The fourth and last one is a 156 pages book. It contains :

- La scena, il dramma, il mito, l'oblio ;
- Organico strumentale (orchestral setting) ;
- complete libretto only in Italian ;
- synopsis in Italian by Cesare Fertonani, with translations in French, English, German, Japanese and
Russian ;
- Cesare Fertonani : Salvatore Sciarrino ;
- Cesare Fertonani : L'opera in breve ;
- Gianluigi Mattietti : La musica ;
- Enzo Restagno : Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo ;
- Andrea De Carlo : Stradella, o dell'atemporalità ;
- Raffaele Mellace : Alessandro Stradella ;
- Anna Paniale : Il teatro nel teatro - Alcune riflessioni di Jürgen Flimm ;
- Luca Chierici : Salvatore Sciarrino alla Scala dal 1969 al 2014 (with 'Cronologia') ;
- biographies of the artists with headshots.

With the exception of the translations of the synopsis, the book is entirely in Italian.

I now have 505 programme books for contemporary operas. All covers have been scanned and uploaded to this flickr folder.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Today : world première of 'Girls of the Golden West' by John Adams in San Francisco

Today, the San Francisco Opera presents the world première of Girls of the Golden West, an opera in two acts composed by John Adams, with a libretto by Peter Sellars, based on 'original sources'.

(c) Christine Alicino

It is the composer's 8th opera after Nixon in China (Houston, October 22, 1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (Brussels, March 19, 1991) and Doctor Atomic (San Francisco, October 1, 2005).
The opera follows people from all over the world who flock to Gold Country hoping to strike it rich but are quickly caught up in the optimism, greed and prejudices of a rapidly changing world. Dame Shirley is an East Coast transplant chronicling life in the camp.  Ah Sing, a Chinese immigrant, works as a prostitute but dreams of a better life. Ned Peters is a cowboy and former slave who never quite feels safe. And Josefa Segovia is a young Mexican barmaid whose act of self-preservation will change them all forever. (reproduced from the San Francisco Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Julia Bullock (Dame Shirley), baritone Paul Appleby (Joe Cannon), baritone Ryan McKinny (Clarence King), bass-baritone Davone Tines (Ned Peters), mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges (Josefa Segovia), soprano Hye Jung Lee (Ah Sing), baritone Elliot Madore (Ramon) and dancer Lorena Feijoo (Lola Montez). Grant Gershon conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the San Francisco Opera. Peter Sellars directs.

The required orchestra is the following (reproduced from the Boosey & Hawkes website) :

- 3 flutes (doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (doubling cor Anglais), 3 clarinets (doubling Eb clarinet and bass clarinet), 3 bassons (doubling contrabassoon) ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 2 percussionists, piano, accordion and guitar ;
- strings (

The performance should last about 3 hours including one intermission. The venue is the War Memorial Opera House. This new opera is a co-commission and co-production with the Dallas Opera and Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Today : world première of Nico Muhly's 'Marnie' in London (ENO)

Today, the English National Opera in London presents the world première of Nico Muhly's new opera, Marnie, with a libretto by Nicholas Wright, based on Winston Graham's novel.

It is the composer's third opera after Dark Sisters (Gotham Chamber Opera, New York, November 9, 2011) and Two Boys (London, ENO, June 24, 2011).
A young woman makes her way through life by embezzling from her employers, before she moves on and changes her identity. When her current boss Mark Rutland catches her red-handed, he blackmails her into a loveless marriage. Marnie is left with no choice but to confront the hidden trauma from her past. (reproduced from the ENO website)
The cast includes mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke (Marnie), baritone Daniel Okulitch (Mark Rutland), countertenor James Laing (Terry Rutland), tenor Alasdair Elliott (Mr Strutt),contralto Kathleen Wilkinson (Marnie's mother) and soprano Lesley Garrett (Mrs Rutland). Martyn Brabbins conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the English National Opera. Michael Meyer directs.

The performance should last about 2 hours and 40 minutes. The opera will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on December 9, 2017.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Today : world première of Giovanni Mancuso's 'Atlas 101' in Treviso

Today, the Teatro Comunale di Treviso presents the world première of Giovanni Mancuso's Atlas 101, a 'matematico-dream spy opera'.

(c) Fotovideolab di Riccardo Spinella

It is the composer's second opera after Obra Maestra (2006).
Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian actress who won Hollywood in the 1930s, and composer George Antheil, famous for his avant-garde experiments, contributed to the struggle against Nazism by conceiving the Secret Communication System, a method of intercepting radioactive torpedoes, similar to the perforated paper rolls used for mechanical pianos, which constantly changed the frequency of radio controls to prevent enemies from intercepting the signals. But their project exceeds any expectation by coming to the idea of ​​a universal Atlas of Relationship, a kind of ultimate theory that makes it possible to understand the nature of things and events. (freely adapted from the Teatro Comunale di Treviso website)
The cast includes Fernanda de Araujo (Hedy Lamarr), bass Francisco Bois (George Antheil), baritone Francesco Basso (Ganesh), soprano Sara Fanin (Maria, cameriera di Hedy), bass Luca Scapin (Vescovo), Lucas Lopes Pereira (Generale Spy) and Veniero Rizzardi (John Conway). The composer conducts the Chironomids Outerspace Group and directs.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New programme book : 'Dracula' by Victoria Borisova-Ollas in Stockholm

Yesterday, I have received in the mail the programme book published by the Royal Swedish Opera for the world première performance of Dracula, composed by Victoria Borisova-Ollas.

It is a 28 pages brochure. It contains :

- black and white headshots of all cast members ;
- several colour photos of the production ;
- complete crew ;
- Detta händer i Dracula (What happens in Dracula), by dramaturgist Katarina Aronsson (there is an English translation of this article by Katarina Trodden at the end of the booklet) ;
- I vampyren ser vi oss själva (In the vampire, we see ourselves), by Bo Eriksson ;
- interview of the librettist Kristian Benkö, by Torbjörn Eriksson ;
- interview of the stage director Linus Fellbom, by Torbjörn Eriksson ;
- interview of the composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas, by dramaturgist Katarina Aronsson ;
- interview of the conductor Karen Kamensek, by Torbjörn Eriksson ;

The programme is entirely in Swedish.

I now have 501 programme books for contemporary operas. All scanned covers are in this flickr folder.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Today : world première of 'Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo' by Salvatore Sciarrino in Milan

Today, the Teatro alla Scala in Milano presents the world première performance of Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo (To see you, to feel you, to lose me), an opera in two acts composed by Salvatore Sciarrino, with a libretto by the composer.

(c) Luca Carrà

Salvatore Sciarrino has already composed 15 works for the theatre, including Lohengrin (Milano, 1983), Luci mie traditrici (Schwetzingen, 1998), Macbeth (Schwetzingen, 2002), Da gelo a gelo (Schwetzingen, 2006), La porta della legge (Wuppertal, 2009), and Superflumina (Mannheim, 2011).
The subtitle of Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo is Waiting for Stradella. This alludes to the fate of Alessandro Stradella, a highly prominent Italian composer during his time, who died in mysterious circumstances in 1682 – the victim of a violent crime. The work is set in the home of Cardinal Colonna in baroque Rome, where a singer, a writer, a musician, a choir and an instrumental ensemble are on stage awaiting the arrival of the composer. But instead of the promised new aria, they receive news of Stradella’s death. In the lead-up, the music and life of this controversial, original artist – a legend during his lifetime – are extensively reported and reflected upon. Different perspectives and values play a role, as do thoughts on human nature, the body, the senses and passion – in other words, the very essence of opera as an art form. (reproduced from the Staatsoper Unter den Linden website)
The cast includes soprano Laura Aikin (La cantatrice), tenor Charles Workman (Musico), bass baritone Otto Katzameier (Letterato), soprano Sonia Grané (Pasquozza), mezzo Lena Haselmann (Chiappina), countertenor Thomas Lichtenecker (Solfetto) and baritone Christian Oldenburg (Finocchio). Maxime Pascal conducts the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala. Jürgen Flimm directs.

The first performance will be broadcast live by Rai Radio 3. This commission is a coproduction with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, where the opera will be performed in July 2018.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Today : world première of 'König Drösselbart' by Andres Reukauf in Hagen

Today, the Theater Hagen presents the world première performance of König Drösselbart (King Thrushbeard), an children opera composed by Andres Reukauf, with a libretto by Petra Grube after the Brothers Grimm.

Andres Raukauf has already composed several operas for children : Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse (Hagen, 2012), Der Froschkönig (Hagen, 2013), Vom Fischer und seine Frau (2014), and Hänsel und Gretel (Hagen, 2015).
What should the perfect man look like for Philine ? She does not know exactly, but how he should NOT look, she knows all the better. And he should not even have a beard like a throttle. A "King Drosselbart" has no chance with her !
It doesn't matter to her, that everyone else thinks she is superficial, after all, she's a real princess - and she has to be nasty. Should anyone be judged only by the appearance ?
These and many more questions lead the princess into the adventure together with her loyal dog Karlo. (freely adapted from the opera theater website)
The cast includes Jan Schuba (König Ludwig / Händler), Carolina Walker (Philine, Ludwig's daughter), Tobias Rusnak (König Drosselbart), Daniel Heck (dog Karlo), and Kristina Günther-Vieweg (cat Charlie). Jan Friedrich Eggers directs.

Today : world première of 'Der Mieter' by Arnulf Herrmann in Frankfurt

Today, the Oper Frankfurt presents the world première of Der Mieter (The Tenant), an opera composed by Arnulf Herrmann with a libretto by Klaus Händl based on motifs from Roland Topor's novel Le Locataire chimérique.

It is the composer's second opera after Wasser (München, 2012).
Lodgings are scarce, so Georg is delighted to have found a room. The previous tenant is dead. She threw herself out of the window. Not long after he moves in the other people in the house start intruding on his life. It starts with complaints about noise. Then he is expected to help drive other tenants away. Everything takes place in a climate of increasing fear, intimidation and – what weighs most heavily – gradual self-restraint and the need to become increasingly obedient in order to be able keep his room. The extent to how he is free to move and act becomes less and less. His (bio)sphere begins to vanish. In the end it is unclear whether the threat is real or imagined – advanced paranoia. He begins to imagine that he is being forced to suffer the same fate as the previous tenant. And worse: that he should become part of her. Not only does he lose his own identity, he turns into a woman and takes his life. (reproduced from the Oper Frankfurt website)
The cast includes baritone Björn Bürger (Georg), soprano Anja Petersen (Johanna), bass Alfred Reiter (Herr Zenk), mezzo Hanna Schwarz (Frau Bach), mezzo Claudia Mahnke (Frau Greiner), tenor Michael Porter (Körner) and mezzo Judita Nagyova (Frau Dorn). Kazushi Ono conducts the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester and the Philharmonia Chorus Vienna. Johannes Erath directs.

The required orchestra is the following (reproduced from the Peters Edition website) :

- 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 4 clarinets, 3 bassoons ;
- 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 2 timpani and 5 percussionists ;
- harp and keyboard ;
- strings (

The performance should last about 1 hour and 50 minutes, without interval.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Today : world première of 'Rootabaga Country' by Rachel J. Peters in Sarasota

Today, the Sarasota Youth Opera presents the world première of Rootabaga Country, an opera composed by Rachel J. Peters with a libretto by the composer based on Carl Sandburg 1922 stories.

Other operas by Rachel J. Peters include The Wild Beast of the Bungalow (2009), Companionship (2011) and Monkey Do (2013).
Gimme the Ax's two children, Please Gimme and Ax Me No Questions, yearn to know more about their mother Alelia and the land of Rootabaga Country she so loved. After journeying through the sky on the Zigzag Railroad, the family meets the Potato Face Blind Man and the unique residents of Rootabaga. They will not only discover who Alelia was, but also learn that families come in all shapes and sizes. (reproduced from the Sarasota Opera website)
The cast includes bass-baritone Costas Tsourakis (Potato Face Blind Man) and tenor Tobias Wright (Gimme the Ax). Jesse Martins conducts the Youth Opera Soloists, Orchestra and Chorus. Martha Collins directs.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Today : world première of 'The Last Judgement' by Krzysztof Knittel in Gdansk

Today, the Opera Baltycka in Gdansk presents the world première of Krzysztof Knittel's The Last Judgement (Sąd Ostateczny), with a libretto by Miroslaw Bujko.

(c) Tomasz Paczos

It is the composer's second opera after The Heartpiece - Double Opera (composed with John King, 1999).
The opera tells the gruesome fate of one of the eminent European paintings, the "Last Judgment" by Hans Memling. It depicts the mysticism of the origins and significance of the triptych, the struggles of its creator and its audience, who could admire it in different circumstances, historical realities and cities of Europe. The wandering of the image began with the spoils that brought it to Gdansk where it is now a permanent exhibit. (freely adapted from the Opera Baltycka website)
The cast includes baritone Robert Gierlach (Memling), bass Piotr Lempa (Arago), countertenor Jan Jakub Monowid (Portinari) and soprano Anna Mikolajczyk (Katarzyna Tanagli). Szymon Morus conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera Baltycka. Pawel Szkotak directs.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Today : world première of 'Mr. Burke and Mr. Hare' by Julian Grant in Boston (MA)

Today, the Boston Lyric Opera presents the world première performance of The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke and Mr. Hare, a chamber opera composed by Julian Grant, with a libretto by Mark Campbell based on real events.

Since 1986 and the chamber opera King's Children, Julian Grant has composed several works for the stage, including dance operas, chamber operas, children's operas and community operas.
Edinburgh, 1828. The city’s world-renowned anatomy schools suffer from a cadaver shortage. Two industrious men — William Burke and William Hare — find lucrative work by murdering disenfranchised citizens and selling their corpses to Dr. Knox’s academy. (reproduced from the BLO website)
The cast includes tenor William Burden (Dr. Robert Knox), baritone Jesse Blumberg (William Burke), bass-baritone Craig Colclough (William Hare), soprano Michelle Trainor (Helen McDougal), soprano Marie McLaughlin (Abigail Simpson) and baritone David Cushing (Donald). David Angus conducts the Chamber Ensemble from the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra. David Schweizer directs.

The venue is the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. The performance should last about 90 minutes.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Today : world première of Brian Current's 'Missing' in Vancouver

Today, the City Opera Vancouver presents the world première performance of Missing, a chamber opera composed by Brian Current with a libretto by Marie Clements.

It is the composer's third opera after Inventory (2006) and Airline Icarus (revised version, 2010).
Set in Vancouver and along the Highway of Tears, this music drama is being created to give voice to the story of Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, and to show that each and every one of these missing people is honored. (reproduced from the City Opera Vancouver website)
The cast includes soprano Melody Courage (Native Girl), oprano Caitlin Wood (Ava), mezzo Marion Newman (Dr. Wilson), mezzo Rose-Ellen Nichols (Native Mother), mezzo Heather Molloy (Jess) and tenor Kaden Forsberg (Devon). Timothy Long conducts and Peter Hinton directs.

The orchestra consists of 1 flute, 1 clarinet, 2 percussionists, 1 electric piano, violin, cello and electronics.

The performance takes place at the York Theater and should last about 90 minutes. Further performances will follow in Victoria (BC) at the Baumann Centre for Opera in the second half of November.