Tuesday, 30 January 2018

10 new program books in my collection

I have recently acquired the program books for the following performances :

- Michel van der Aa, After Life, Lyon, March 18, 2010
The opera was first performed in Amsterdam on June 2, 2006, and I have the program book for the new version first performed in Amsterdam on September 28, 2009.
It is a 113 pages book, with the complete bilingual libretto (English / French).
- Robert Aldridge, Sister Carrie, Milwaukee, October 7, 2016
It is a 52 pages brochure. The opera was recorded and published by Naxos.
- Ricky Ian Gordon, The House Without a Christmas Tree, Houston, November 30, 2017.
It is a 64 pages brochure.

- Hans Werner Henze, L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe, Lyon, June 24, 2005
The opera was first performed in Salzburg on August 12, 2003. I have the program book for the world première, the DVD recording (EuroArts) as well as the two scores published by Chester Music (vocal score and full score).
It is a 158 pages book, with the complete bilingual libretto (German / French).
- Toshio Hosokawa, Hanjo, Lyon, March 5, 2008
The opera was first performed in Aix-en-Provence on July 8, 2004.
It is a 87 pages book, with the complete bilingual libretto (English / French) and a separate 12 pages booklet with cast and biographies.
- Helmut Oehring, Kunst muss (zu weit gehen) oder der Engel schwieg, Köln, December 9, 2017.
It is a 64 pages book.

- Rachel J. Peters, Rootabaga Country, Sarasota, November 11, 2017.
It is a 80 pages book published for the 2017 Fall Season of Sarasota Opera.
- Kevin Puts, Elizabeth Cree, Philadelphia, September 14, 2017.
It is a 132 pages book for the Festival O17, including also complete cast for two other new operas : The Wake World by David Hertzberg (September 17, 2017) and We Shall Not Be Moved by Daniel Bernard Roumain (September 16, 2017).

- Andres Reukauf, König Drosselbart, Hagen, November 12, 2017.
It is a 16 pages booklet.
- Kaija Saariaho, Only the Sound Remains, Paris, January 23, 2018
The opera was first performed in Amsterdam on March 15, 2016. I have the Blu Ray recording of the Dutch production.
It is a 120 pages book, the the complete bilingual libretto (English / French).

I now have 516 program books for contemporary operas. I have scanned all the covers and uploaded them to this flickr folder.

Today : world première of Gordon Kampe's 'Frankenstein' in Berlin

Today, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin presents the world première of Gordon Kampe's new musical theatre piece, Frankenstein, with a libretto based on Mary Shelley's novel.

He has already composed several pieces in the same genre, including the very successful Kannst du pfeifen, Johanna (2013).
Like a Doctor Faustus, like Prometheus, Viktor Frankenstein seems to be overstepping the bounds of human capacity when he creates living matter out of dead flesh. Director Maximilian von Mayenburg and his design team are transforming the Tischlerei into a laboratory - in which the audience will be in on the creation of human life and get a feel of the trials and tribulations of both creator and monster against an atmospheric backdrop of musical shards and sound effects. (reproduced from the Deutsche Oper Berlin website)
The cast includes soprano Sandra Hamaoui, tenor Andrew Dickinson, actor Christopher Nell and Actress Anna Rot. Jens Holzkamp conducts musicians from the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper. Maximilian von Mayenburg directs. The performance takes place at the Tischlerei.

The American composer Mark Grey already composed an opera with the same title, first performed in Brussels on June 14, 2016.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Today : world première of 'Die Banalität der Liebe' by Ella Milch-Sheriff in Regensburg

Today, the Theater Regensburg presents the world première of Die Banalität der Liebe (The Banality of Love), an opera composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff with a libretto by Savyon Liebrecht.

It is the composer's third opera after And the Rat laughed (Tel-Aviv, 2005) and Baruch's Silence (Braunschweig, 2010).
This opera discusses central questions of recent German history : questions about delusion, guilt and the nature of evil. And of love. (freely adapted from the Theater Regensburg website)
The cast includes soprano Sara-Maria Saalmann (Hannah Arendt jung), mezzo Vera Semieniuk (Hannah Arendt alt), tenor Angelo Pollak (Martin Heidegger jung), baritone Adam Kruzel (Martin Heidegger alt), baritone Matthias Störmer (Rafael Mendelson), tenor Matthias Laferi (Michael Mendelson) and bass Mario Klein (Gideon Hausner). Tom Woods conducts the Opernchor Theater Regensburg and the Philharmonisches Orchester Regensburg. Itay Tiran directs.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Today : world première of 'Steal a Pencil for Me' by Gerald Cohen in Denver

Today, Opera Colorado presents the world première of Steal a Pencil for Me, an opera composed by Gerald Cohen, with a libretto by Deborah Brevoort.

It is the composer's third opera, after Sarah and Hagar (2005) and Seed (2011). Excerpts of Steal a Pencil for Me have been performed in workshops performances in New York (2013 and 2014) and Fort Worth (2016).
The action of the opera takes place in Amsterdam, at Westerbork Transit camp, and at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp between the years of 1943-1945. Thirty-year old Jaap Polak is unhappily married to Manja, a social butterfly with a sharp tongue. He falls in love with twenty-year old Ina Soep, whose boyfriend, Rudi Acohen, has been seized and deported to Poland by the Nazis. When the husband, his wife, and his new girlfriend are deported to Westerbork, they actually find themselves living in the same barracks. Jaap’s wife objects to the relationship and Jaap and Ina resort to writing secret love letters, which sustain them throughout the horrible circumstances of the war. (reproduced from the composer's website).
The cast includes soprano Inna Dukach (Ina Soep), baritone Gideon Dabi (Jaap Polak) and mezzo Adriana Zabala (Manja Polak). Ari Pelto conducts and Omer Ben Seadia directs.

The performance takes place at the Wolf Theatre, in the Mizel Arts and Culture Center in Denver.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Today : world première of Missy Mazzoli's 'Proving Up' in Washington

Today, the Washington National Opera presents the world première of Missy Mazzoli's opera Proving Up, as part of the American Opera Initiative Festival. The libretto by Royce Vavrek is based on a coming-of-age short story by Karen Russell.

(c) Stephen S. Taylor

It is the composer's fifth opera. Her previous lyrical works include the chamber opera Song from the Uproar : The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt (New York, February 2012) and Breaking the Waves (Philadelphia, September 2016).
A group of Nebraska families struggles to claim their land under the Homestead Act. In order to satisfy the grant, or "prove up," their homes must each have at least one glass window. Unable to afford such a luxury, the families recruit young Miles to ferry a single window from one home to the next, each time the inspector arrives. How will Miles handle this enormous responsibility, knowing so many depend on his help to achieve the American Dream ? (reproduced from the Kennedy Center website)
The cast includes soprano Leah Hawkins (Mrs. Joohannes 'Ma' Zegner), soprano Madison Leonard (Zegner Sister 1), mezzo Allegra De Vita (Zegner Sister 2), tenor Arnold Livingston Geis (Miles Zegner) and baritone Christopher Kenney (Mr. Johannes 'Pa' Zegner). Chris Rountree conducts and Alison Moritz directs.

The required orchestra is the following (according to the full score) :

- flute (doubling piccolo and A maj harmonica), clarinet in Bb (doubling bass clarinet and A maj harmonica), bassoon (doubling contrabassoon and E min harmonica) ;
- horn in F, trumpet in C (doubling E min harmonica) ;
- percussion (1 player) : 7 acoustic guitars, hanging on the wall in open tunings, vibraphone, glockenspiel, chime, suspended cymbal, hi-hat, triangle, brake drum, bass drum, low tom-tom, snare drum, 4 temple blocks, sandpaper, whip, tambourine ;
- piano (doubling harpsichord), harp ;
- strings.

The performance should last about 1 hour. The full score published by G. Schirmer is available on the Music Sales Classical website.