Sunday, 28 April 2019

Today : world première of 'Oceane' by Detlev Glanert in Berlin

Today, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin presents the world première of Oceane, an opera in two acts composed by Detlev Glanert, with a libretto in German by Hans-Ulrich Treichel based on Theodor Fontane's Oceane von Parceval. 

(c) Bettina Stoess

Detlev Glanert has already composed several operas, including Joseph Süß (Bremen, 1999), Caligula (Frankfurt, 2006) and Solaris (Bregenz, 2012).
Oceane von Parceval is an attempt to encapsulate in the form of Melusine the sense of menace and fascination felt by a bourgeois, male-dominated society faced with femininity coupled with an archaic, erotically permissive artlessness. Oceane’s inability to sympathise with human destinies serves to amplify her alien nature. She is indifferent to death and love alike, and as such her attempt to have a relationship with a young landowner, Martin von Dircksen, is doomed to failure. (reproduced from the Boosey & Hawkes website)
The cast includes soprano Maria Bengtsson (Oceane von Parceval), tenor Nikolai Schukoff (Martin von Dircksen), baritone Christoph Pohl (Dr Albert Felgentreu), soprano Nicole Haslett (Kristina), bass Albert Pesendorfer (Pastor Baltzer) and mezzo Doris Soffel (Madame Louise). Donald Runnicles conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Robert Carsen directs.

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

- 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 1 English horn, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- percussions (3) ;
- 2 harps, celesta and strings.

The performance should last 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one interval.

The score is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Today : world première of 'The Tot Family' by Péter Toth in Budapest

Today, the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest presents the world première of The Tot Family, an opera in one act composed by Péter Toth, with a libretto by Varady Szabolcs, Andras Schlanger and Robert Bognar based on Istvan Örkény's play.

It is the composer's second opera, after Prince Aryélus (Szeged, 2016).
Mátraszentanna is a place where only penniless officials and pensioners spend their holidays. For the locals, it seems like a miracle when they get the chance to host a real army major. Yet, one day, Major Varró – at the urging of Gyula Tót, who is serving as an ensign on the Eastern Front – comes on a visit to spend his two-week sick leave with the boy’s parents. The Tót couple do everything humanly possible for the sake of their son, and the deeply touched Major gives them his promise : when the cold weather arrives, he will assign the boy to the well-heated battalion office, where his life will not be in danger. The parents do not yet know that all this is in vain : Ensign Gyula Tót has been killed in action. (reproduced from the Hungarian State Opera website)
The cast includes bass László Szvétek (Lajos Tot), soprano Júlia Vajda (Mariska), soprano Helga Nánási (Agika), tenor Boldizsár László (Major) and bass baritone András Hábetler (Postman). Janko Zsolt conducts and Csaba Kael directs.

The venue is the Eiffel Art Studio. This opera is the second part of a performance also presenting Jenö Kennessey's The Gold and the Woman.

Today : world première of 'The Phoenix' by Tarik O'Regan in Houston (TX)

Today, the Houston Grand Opera presents the world première of The Phoenix or The Operatic Adventures of Lorenzo Da Ponte on Two Continents in Two Acts, by Tarik O'Regan, with a libretto by John Caird.

 (c) Peter Greig
It is the composer's third opera, after Heart of Darkness (London, Royal Opera House, Linbury Studio, November 1, 2011) and The Wanton Sublime (New York, April 22, 2014).
Lorenzo da Ponte led a scandalous life that rivalled the stories he committed to paper. After becoming a priest and poet in Venice, he was banished when it was discovered that he had connections to many brothels and a secret family with two children. Luckily, he was introduced to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Austria and flourished as a librettist. His new-found fame gained him access to the upper echelons of European society. Yet after much success, Da Ponte found himself bankrupt and needing to flee once more. He sought refuge in America where he made a modest living as a grocer before rising again to establish the New York City’s first opera company in 1833. (reproduced from the HGO website).
The cast includes baritone Thomas Hampson (Lorenzo Da ¨Ponte, Sr.), bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni (Lorenzo Da Ponte, Jr.), mezzo Rihab Chaieb (Maria Malibran / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), tenor Joseph Kaiser (Patrick Kelly / Giacomo Casanova / Emperor Joseph II), soprano Lauren Snouffer (Giulietta) and soprano Elizabeth Sutphen (Faustina). Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus. John Caird directs.

The performance should last about 2 hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission.

The score is published by Novello.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Today : world première of 'Les Bienveillantes' by Hèctor Parra in Antwerpen

Today, the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Antwerpen presents the world première of Les Bienveillantes (The Kindly Ones), an opera in 2 parts and 7 scenes composed by Hèctor Parra, with a libretto by Händl Klaus based on Jonathan Littell's novel.

It is Parra's sixth work for the stage, after Das geopferte Leben (Munich, May 2014) and Wilde (Schwetzingen, May 2015).
The main character, SS officer Max Aue, is not only a witness but above all, also a participant in the horrors of war, but he is not burdened by it. (reproduced from the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen website)
The cast includes tenor Rainer Trost (Maximilian Aue), soprano Rachel Harnisch (Una Moreau), soprano Nadja Michael (Héloïse Aue), tenor David Alegret (Aristide Moreau) and baritone Günter Papendell (Thomas Hauser). Peter Rundel conducts the Symfonisch Orkest and Koor of the Opera Vlaanderen. Calixto Bieito directs.

The opera is coproduced with the Staatstheater Nürnberg and the Teatro Real Madrid.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Today : world première of 'Thérèse' by Philipp Maintz in Salzburg

Today, the Easter Festival in Salzburg presents the world première of Thérèse, a chamber opera composed by Philipp Maintz, with a libretto by Otto Katzameier after Emile Zola's novel.

(c) Paavo Blafield

It is the composer's second opera after Maldoror (Munich, International Festival for New Music Theatre, 2010).
Thérèse lives in an arranged marriage with her cousin Camille, suffering unspeakably. She falls in love with Laurent, her husband’s best friend. Now she experiences a passion and happiness she would never have considered possible previously. The absolute wish to live together eclipses all else, and they decide to murder the husband. Now the way seems clear, but this open path is the very thing irreparably damaging their bond. Both are incapable of stopping the logic of their love’s death. Assigning blame only demonstrates their powerlessness in the face of the pointless fatalism of their development. The only communality they are still able to achieve is a suicide pact. (reproduced from the Easter Festival website)
The cast includes bass baritone Otto Katzameier (Laurent), soprano Marisol Montalvo (Thérèse), countertenor Tim Severloh (Camille) and mezzo Renate Behle (Mme Raquin). Nicolas André conducts Members of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Georges Delnon directs.

The venue is the Large University Auditorium (Grosse Universitätsaula). Further performances are planned in Hamburg in May, at the Elbphilharmonie (Kleiner Saal) during the International Music Festival.

The score is published by Bärenreiter.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Two new video recordings in my collections : Adès and Benjamin

I have recently acquired two new video recordings of contemporary operas :

- Thomas Adès, The Exterminating Angel, conducted by the composer, directed by Tom Cairns, recorded at the Metropolitan Opera on November 18, 2017 (Erato) ;

- George Benjamin, Lessons in Love and Violence, conducted by the composer, directed by Katie Mitchell, recorded at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in May 2018 (Opus Arte).

I now have 251 video recordings of operas. You can see all my collections of books and recordings on Librarything.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Today : world première of 'The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace' by Kamala Sankaram in Ithaca (NY)

Today, the Opera Ithaca presents the world première of The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace, an opera composed by Kamala Sankaram, with a libretto by Rob Handel. It is an extended version with orchestra of Enchantress, composed in 2014.

Kamala Sankaram already composed several works for the stage, including Miranda (New York, January 2012) and Thumbprint (New York, January 2014).
Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, must choose between her passionate marriage and the chance to collaborate with the eccentric mathematician Charles Babbage. (reproduced from the New Dramatists website)
The cast includes mezzo Courtney Elvira (Ada Lovelace), tenor Glenn Seven Allen (William King) and baritone Dennis Jesse (Charles Babbage). Mila Henry conducts the chamber ensemble (piano and string quartet). Susannah Berryman and Mary Corsaro direct.

The performance should last about 1 hour. The first part of the evening consists of a performance of Francesca Caccini's La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina.

The venue is The Cherry Artspace in Ithaca (NY).

Monday, 8 April 2019

Two new programme books from Berlin and Luxembourg

I have recently received two programme books for contemporary operas :

- Alexandre Desplat, En Silence, Luxembourg, February 26, 2019 ;
- Jörg Widmann, Babylon, Berlin (Staatsoper Unter den Linden), March 9, 2019.

The first one is a 48 pages book. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- Alexandre Desplat : Mot du compositeur ;
- Solrey : Note de la metteure en scène, vidéaste ;
- complete libretto (only in French) ;
- biographies of the artists (only in French).

The book is bilingual : French and English.

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

- Synopsis ;
- Roman Reeger : Jedes Arbeiten über Babylon ist auch immer Grabungsarbeit (Interview of composer Jörg Widmann) ;
- Roman Reeger : Eine Welt des Wahns (Interview of director Andreas Kriegenburg) ;
- Florian Henri Besthorn : Hereinspaziert nach Babylon, hier gibt's die ganze Welt ;
- Peter Sloterdijk : Notizen zu Babylon : excerpts of Zeilen und Tage and Neue Zeilen und Tage ;
- Eva Horn : Die romantische Verdunklung ;
- Stefan Maul : Religion in Babylon ;
- Christoph Türcke : Das Opferritual ;
- Jan Assmann : Identität und Gewalt ;
- Arno Declair : color photos of the production (February 27, 2019) ;
- complete cast and crew for the world première.

The book is entirely in German. There is a separate 8 pages leaflet with the complete cast and crew for the first performance, a separate 36 pages booklet with biographies of the artists and a 44 pages booklet with the complete libretto.

I already had in my collection the programme book for world première performance of the original version (Munich, October 27, 2012).

I now have 650 programme books for contemporary operas. I have scanned all the covers and uploaded the images to this flickr folder.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Today : world première of 'Jack the Ripper' by Iain Bell in London (ENO)

Today, the English National Opera in London presents the world première of Jack the Ripper : The Women of Whitechapel, an opera composed by Iain Bell with a libretto by Emma Jenkins.

It is the composer's fourth opera, after A Harlot's Progress (Vienna, October 2013), A Christmas Carol (Houston, December 2014), and In Parenthesis (Cardiff, May 2016).
A disadvantaged group of working-class women are drawn together in their determination to survive the murderous terror that stalks London's Whitechapel in 1888. Mary Kelly, who runs a doss house with her grandmother Maud, is teaching her daughter Iris to read and write to give her a chance to have a better life. But as the darkness descends and Mary watches the women in her life start to disappear, the community turn to her to find a way out of the labyrinth. (reproduced from the ENO website)
The cast includes soprano Claudia Boyle (Mary Kelly), soprano Josephine Barstow (Maud), soprano Janis Kelly (Polly Nichols), soprano Marie McLaughlin (Annie Chapman), soprano Susan Bullock (Liz Stride), soprano Lesley Garrett (Catherine Eddowes), baritone Alan Opie (The Pathologist), bass baritone Robert Hayward (Commissioner of Police) and tenor Nicky Spence (Sergeant Johnny Strong). Martyn Brabbins conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the English National Opera. Daniel Kramer directs.

The required orchestra is the following (reproduced from the Music Sales Classical website) :

- 2 flutes (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (doubling contrabassoon) ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- timpani, percussion, cymbalum, harp ;
- strings (

The opera is co-produced with Opera North.