Monday, 28 January 2019

New programme book in my collection : 'Violetter Schnee' by Beat Furrer in Berlin

Last Saturday, I have received in the mail the programme book published by the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin for the world première performance of Beat Furrer's opera Violetter Schnee, on January 13th, 2019.

It is a 108 pages book. It contains :

- synopsis, in German and English ;
- Das Ende kann nur offen sein : discussion with composer Beat Furrer, librettist Händl Klaus and dramaturges Yvonne Gebauer and Roman Reeger ;
- Yvonne Gebauer : ... ein Übergang zu etwas vollkommen neuem., dialogue with director Claus Guth ;
- Bertram Kaschek : Die weisse Falle, about Pieter Bruegel's painting Die Jäger im Schnee ;
- Marie Luise Maintz : Spiel ohne Grenzen, about Furrer's Violetter Schnee ;
- Sascha Gebauer : Wo schimmernden Schnee die alles erleuchtende Sonne zwingt, notice about Furrer's Violetter Schnee ;
- black and white photos by Florian Ruiz (The White Contamination) ;
- short excerpts of works by Thomas Lehr, Günther Anders, Jacques Derrida, Boris Groys, Christoph Ransmayr, William Carlos Williams, Robert Musil, Zbigniew Herbert and Mark Strand ;
- complete libretto ;
- production team and cast for the première.

The book is entirely in German. Only the synopsis is also available in English.

With the book, there is a 8 pages leaflet with the complete cast and crew, a 20 pages booklet with biographies and a 28 pages booklet with color photos (by Monika Rittershaus) of the dress rehearsal with piano on January 7.

I now have 612 programme books for contemporary operas. I have scanned all the covers and uploaded them to this flickr folder.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Today : world première of 'Was ist los dei den Enakos ?' by Elisabeth Naske in Vienna

Today, the Wiener Staatsoper presents the world première of Was ist los bei den Enakos ? (What's up with the Enako family?), a children opera composed by Elisabeth Naske with a libretto by Ela Baumann.

Elisabeth Naske has already composed several stage works for children, including Die feuerrote Friederike (Vienna, 2004), Die Omama im Apfelbaum (Vienna, 2007), Das Städtchen Drumherum (Vienna, 2013) and Der Wunschpunsch (Lucerne, 2014).
The same thoughts, the same happiness, the same feelings : that’s how easy it is to govern a people ! But of course such equality is nothing less than limitation, dictatorship and oppression, as the people of Enakos discover. However, individuality suddenly flourishes in the state of uniformity once the people of Enakos realize that equality does not always achieve one’s objectives, and that proscribed equality has nothing to do with freedom. In the end, everyone discovers their personal uniqueness before uniting in the final chorus. (reproduced from the Wiener Staatsoper website)
Rick Stengårds conducts the Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Ela Baumann directs.

The requested orchestra is the following (according to the Schott Music website) :

- 2 flutes, 2 clarinets ;
- 2 horns ;
- percussion (3 players) ;
- strings (at least

The venue is the Agrana Studiobühne. The performance should last about 1 hour. The score is published by Schott Music.

Today : world première of 'Elizabetta' by Gabriel Prokofiev in Regensburg

Today, the Theater Regensburg presents the world première of Elizabetta, an opera composed by Gabriel Prokofiev, with a libretto by David Pountney inspired by the life of 'Blood Countess' Elizabeth Bathory.

It is the composer's second opera after The Ghost of Gunby Hall (Skegness, 2012).
Elizabetta is a beautiful, famous and successful woman. But Elizabetta is scared. The sought-after film actress fears the age more than death. When her lover and doctor one day tells her of the rejuvenating power of the blood, it soon becomes clear how far Elizabetta is ready to go for eternal youth. (freely adapted from the Theater Regensburg website)
The cast includes mezzo Vera Semieniuk (Elizabetta), soprano Sara-Maria Saalmann (Anna), baritone Adam Kruzel (Doctor), tenor Angelo Pollak (Reporter) and soprano Ayumi Futagawa (Conference manager). Chin-Chao Lin conducts the Regensburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Chorus. Marcus Lobbes directs.

The venue is the Theater am Bismarckplatz. The performance should last about 2 hours and 15 minutes, including the interval.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Today : world première of 'Jää' ('Ice') by Jaakko Kuusisto in Helsinki

Today, the Finnish National Opera presents the world première of Jää (Ice), an opera in three acts composed by Jaakko Kuusisto, with a libretto in Finnish by Juhani Koivisto based on the novel written by Ulla-Lena Lundberg.

Jaakko Kuusisto has composed several opera, including The Canine Kalevala (2003), The Bed Chamber Opera (2009), The Camping Opera (2012) and Elämälle (2015).
A young priest settles on a remote Finnish island with his family, and ever since his first sermon, everyone loves and respects him. This where they’ll stay, where their children will grow up, Petter and Mona decide. Petter completes his degree, he is inaugurated, a bridge is built between islands, life is getting better and all is well. But the ice is treacherous, and Petter doesn’t know how to watch out for it. (reproduced from the Finnish National Opera website)
The cast includes baritone Ville Rusanen (Peter Kummel), soprano Marjukka Tepponen (Mona Kummel), bass baritone Jussi Merikanto (Lukkari), mezzo Jenny Carlstedt (Irina Gyllen), soprano Jenni Lättilä (Adele Bergman), tenor Pekka Kuivalainen (Elis Bergman) and baritone Hannu Niemelä (Artur Manström). The composer conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Finnish National Opera. Anna Kelo directs.

The required orchestra is the following (reproduced from the composer's website) :

- 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- percussion (3 players) ;
- harp, piano, synthesizer ;
- strings.

The performance should last 2 hours and 40 minutes, including a 25 minutes intermission.

The score is published by Tactus.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Today : world première of 'Anthropocene' by Stuart MacRae in Glasgow

Today, the Scottish Opera presents the world première of Anthropocene, an opera composed by Stuart MacRae, with a libretto by Louise Welsh.

It is the composer's fifth opera after The Assasin Tree (Edinburgh, 2006), Remembrance Day (Glasgow, 2009), Ghost Patrol (Edinburgh, 2012) and The Devil Inside (Glasgow, 2016).
In the frozen Arctic wastelands, an expeditionary team of scientists becomes trapped. Tensions rise and relationships crumble; and then something appears, out of the ice… (reproduced from the Scottish Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Jennifer France (Ice), soprano Jeni Bern (Professor Prentice), baritone Stephen Gadd (Charles), baritone Benedict Nelson (Miles), tenor Mark Le Brocq (Harry King) and bass baritone Paul Whelan (Captain Ross). Stuart Stratford conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Scottish Opera. Matthew Richardson directs.

The performance should last 2 hours and 20 minutes, including a 20 minutes interval.

The venue for the first performance is the Theatre Royal in Glasgow. Further performances in Edinburgh (King's Theatre) and London (Hackney Empire) until February 9.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Today : world première of 'Violetter Schnee' by Beat Furrer in Berlin

Today, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin presents the world première of Violetter Schnee (Violet Snow), an opera composed by Beat Furrer with a libretto in German by Händl Klaus based on a work by Vladimir Sorokin translated by Dorothea Trottenberg.

(c) Dimitri Papageorgiou

It is the composer's 8th opera, after Die Blinden (Vienna, 1989), Narcissus (Graz, 1994), Invocation (Zurich, 2003), Wüstenbuch (Basel, 2010) and La bianca notte (Hamburg, 2015).
The world is in a state of emergency. Five people are trapped in perpetual snowdrifts. Time appears to stand still. Will this ever end ? Jacques remains apart in the middle of the group, affirming the snowfall and the nothingness that he dedicates himself to – by holding a dialogue with the snow in agreement with its uncanny effects. Peter und Silvia, by contrast, are gloomy, fearful and pessimistic. Jan and Natascha attempt to keep a perspective, continue to hope and remain active, believing that a new era will come. The ability to communicate becomes visibly more difficult for all of them. What happens namelessly alienates all of them : they have no language for it. When a stranger appears and speaks – Tanja, who moves through the landscape as if she were in a picture – she initially triggers euphoria, followed by deep isolation. She functions like a projection surface or a space of memory ; Jacques believes he sees his dead wife in her – he touches the membrane between life and death. Nothing, however, is stronger than the sun. The group is obliterated in the violet illumination of the snow. (reproduced from the Staatsoper Berlin website)
The cast includes soprano Anna Prohaska (Silvia), soprano Elsa Dreisig (Natascha), baritone Gyula Orendt (Jan), baritone George Nigl (Peter) and bass baritone Otto Katzameier. Matthis Pintscher conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin. Claus Guth directs.

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

- 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons ;
- saxophone ;
- 3 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- percussion (2 players), piano, accordion ;
- strings (

There will be four performances alltogether in January. The score is published by Bärenreiter. A perusal score is available for download on their website.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Today : world première of 'Taking Up Serpents' by Kamala Sankaram in Washington

Today, the Washington National Opera and the American Opera Initiative Festival present the world première of Taking Up Serpents, a new hour-long opera composed by Kamala Sankaram with a libretto by Jerre Dye.

Kamala Sankaram already composed several operas, including Miranda (a steampunk murder-mystery chamber opera, Here Arts Center, New York, 2012) and Formidable (Memphis, 2018).
25-year-old Kayla is the estranged daughter of a fire-and-brimstone preacher who is dangerously bitten by one of his own snakes. Kayla’s journey home forces her to confront her troubled upbringing. (reproduced from the composer's website)
The cast includes soprano Alexandria Shiner (Kayla), mezzo Eliza Bonet (Nelda) and bass Timothy J. Bruno (Daddy). Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts. Alison Moritz directs.

The venue is the Terrace Theater in the Kennedy Center.