Saturday, 29 September 2018

Today : world première of 'Bérénice' by Michael Jarrell in Paris

Today, the Opéra national de Paris presents the world première performance of Bérénice, an opera composed by Michael Jarrell, with a libretto by the composer after Jean Racine's tragedy.

© C. Daguet / Editions Henry Lemoine

It is the composer's second opera after Galilei (Geneva, 2006).
Titus, passionately in love with Berenice, sends her away from Rome 'in spite of himself and in spite of her', recounts Suetonius. Titus and Berenice love each other; under the watchful eye of Antiochus, the hopeless lover, they try yet refuse to understand each other. (reproduced from the Opéra national de Paris website)
The cast includes baritone Bo Skovhus (Titus), soprano Barbara Hannigan (Bérénice), baritone Ivan Ludlow (Antiochus) and bass Alastair Miles (Paulin). Philippe Jordan conducts the Orchestra of the Opéra national de Paris. Claus Guth directs.

The score is published by Editions Henry Lemoine. According to their website, the required orchestra is the following :

- 3 flutes (doubling alto flute and piccolo), 2 oboes (doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (doubling contrabassoon) ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 3 percussionists ;
- harp, MIDI keyboard ;
- strings.

The venue is the Palais Garnier. The performance should last about 90 minutes (no interval).

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Today : world première of 'Sanatorio Express' by Iiro Rantala in Helsinki

Today, the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki presents the world première of Sanatorio Express, an opera composed by Iiro Rantala with a libretto by Minna Lindgren.

It is the composer's first opera.
A Soprano, on the very verge of divorce, arrives at the much-lauded sanatorium, hoping to shed her excess kilos over a weekend. Once at the clinic of the shameless Healer, Soprano finds herself falling in love with a Tenor who’s looking for peace of mind. The relationship rollercoaster truly gets going when Soprano’s husband turns up. Only the mouthy Receptionist can stop the ride by revealing a bundle of embarrassing secrets. In the end, every customer at the sanatorium discovers something new about themselves. (reproduced from the Finnish National Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Johanna Rusanen (Soprano), singer Waltteri Torikka (A Husband, Soprano's partner), baritone Hannu Niemelä (Healer), tenor Markus Nykänen (A Tenor) and soprano Päivi Nisula (Receptionist). Kalle Kuusava conducts the orchestra. Maria Sid directs.

The venus is the Almi Hall. The performance should last about 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 25 minutes intermission.

In the following month, the opera will also be performed in Turku, Oulu and Kuopio.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Today : world première of 'Sky on Swings' by Lembit Beecher in Philadelphia

Today, the Opera Philadelphia presents the world première of Sky on Swings, a chamber opera by Lembit Beecher with a libretto by Hannah Moscovitch.

© Jamie Jung

It is the composer's fourth opera, after the 'micro opera' In This World, George Is Heartbroken (Toronto, 2012), the chamber operas I Have No Stories To Tell You (New York, 2014) and Sophia's Forest (Philadelphia, September 2017).
Is there any grace in forgetting ? This new chamber opera finds fleeting beauty in memory loss through an unflinching yet uplifting exploration of living with Alzheimer’s disease. (reproduced from the Opera Philadelphia website)
The cast includes mezzo Frederica von Stade (Danny), mezzo Marietta Simpson (Martha), countertenor Daniel Taylor (Ira) and soprano sharleen Joynt (Winnie). Geoffrey MacDonald conducts the Orchestra of Opera Philadelphia. Joanna Settle directs.

The required orchestra is the following (according to the composer's website) :

- 1 clarinet (doubling bass clarinet) ;
- 1 trumpet, 1 trombone ;
- percussion, piano, harp ;
- string quintet.

The performance should last about 80 minutes. The venue is the Perelman Theater.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Today : world première performance of 'The Wall' by Christian Diendorfer in Linz

Today, the Landestheater Linz presents the world première performance of the chamber opera in two acts Die Wand (The Wall), composed by Christian Diendorfer, with a libretto by Hermann Schneider based on Marlen Haushofer's novel.

It is the composer's first opera.
The main character is a 40-something woman whose name the audience never learns. She tries to survive a cataclysmic event: while vacationing in a hunting lodge in the Austrian mountains, a transparent wall has been placed that closes her off from the outside world ; all life outside the wall appears to have died, possibly in a nuclear event. With a dog, a cow, and a cat as her sole companions, she struggles to survive and to come to terms with the situation. Facing fear and loneliness, she writes an account of her isolation without knowing whether or not anyone will ever read it. (reproduced from wikipedia)
The cast includes mezzo soprano Jessica Eccleston (Die Frau), the actress Verena Koch, the dancer Anna Sterbova and baritone Timothy Connor (Der Mann). Jinie Ka conducts the Bruckner Orchester Linz and the chorus of the Landestheater. Eva-Maria Melbye directs.

The venue is the BlackBox Musiktheater. The performance should last about 2 hours.