Saturday, 28 September 2019

Today : world première of 'Die Schattenkaiserin' by Oliver Ostermann in Innsbruck

Today, the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck presents the world première of Die Schattenkaiserin, a musical composed by Oliver Ostermann with a libretto by Susanne Felicitas Wolf based on motives by Bernhard Aichner.

Oliver Ostermann has composed several works for the stage, including musicals and children operas.
Bianca Maria Sforza is a young woman full of hopes and longings in the marriage mediated by her rich uncle. But her designated husband Maximilian, whose heart is still attached to the late Maria of Burgundy, can not develop any affection for her. Her childlike behavior and her attachment remain alien to him and hinder him in his desire for freedom. Neglected by the emperor, Bianca died childless in 1510, sick and lonely in Innsbruck. (freely adapted from the Tiroler Landestheater website)
The cast includes Jil Cleese (Bianca Maria Sforza), Reinwald Kranner (Maximilian I), tenor Dale Albright (Ludovico Sforza), tenor Florian Stern (Ersamus von Brascha), soprano Susanne von der Burg (Hofnärrin Ursula) and soprano Andreja Zidaric (Violanta). Hansjörg Sofka conducts the Chor and Extrachor des Tiroler Landestheaters and the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck. Johannes Reitmeier directs.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Today : world première of 'Andersens Erzählungen' by Jherek Bischoff in Basel

Today, the Theater Basel presents the world première of Andersens Erzählungen (Andersen's Tales), an opera drama composed by Jherek Bischoff with a libretto by Jan Dvorak.

(c) Allan Amato

It is the composer's first opera.
Hans Christian Andersen is just starting to write the fairy tale «The Little Mermaid» when he turns up at his friend Edvard Collin’s house the night before his wedding in order to confess his love for him. However, he is rejected once again. Upset by this, Andersen continues spinning his yarn and allows it to take a tragic turn : for love of a prince, the Little Mermaid wants to be human, at any price. To achieve this she enters a fatal bargain with the Sea Witch. The Little Mermaid then becomes a human being – but she is still unable to gain the prince’s love.
Andersen discharges his unfulfilled longings in a fictional story and in turn that story then influences his personal life. Side by side with the Danish writer who escapes into an imaginary world in order to be able to gain greater control over his own life, we dive deep into the world of the Little Mermaid. (reproduced from the Theater Basel website)
The cast includes actor Moritz von Treuenfels (Hans Christian Andersen), actor Mario Fuchs (Edvard Collin), counter tenor Bruno de Sa (Der kleine Meerjungfrau), mezzo Ena Pongrac and soprano Stefanie Knorr (Die zwei Meerschwestern), soprano Jasmin Etezadzadeh (Grossmutter) and tenor Rolf Romei (Meerhexe). Thomas Wise conducts the Basel Sinfonietta. Philipp Stölzl directs.

Today : world première of 'The Flood' by Francesco Filidei in Paris

Today, the Opéra Comique in Paris presents the world première of L'Inondation (The Flood), an opera in two acts composed by Francesco Filidei, with a libretto in French by Joël Pommerat, after Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel.

It is the composer's second opera after Giordano Bruno, first performed in Porto in December 2015.
As they cannot give birth to a child, a woman and her husband decide to adopt an orphan girl. The teenager gets an unexpected place in their home and in their hearts.
In a suburb of Saint Petersburg, the wife and husband hardly speak to each other and silence is becoming heavy. The world imagined by the wife to overcome the sadness of her emotional life will go wrong while in this end of winter the water of the river is rising. (reproduced from the Opéra Comique website)
The cast includes mezzo Chloé Briot (The Woman), baritone Boris Grappe (The Man), tenor Enguerrand de Hys (The Male Neighbor), mezzo Yael Raanan-Vandor (The Female Neighbor) and bass Vincent Le Texier (The Doctor). Emilio Pomarico conducts the Children Chorus of the Opéra Comique and the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France. Joël Pommerat directs.

The work is published by UMPG (Universal Music Publishing Classical). The required orchestra is the following :

- 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 1 saxophone ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- 4 percussionists ;
- piano, celesta, harp, accordion ;
- strings (at least

The performance should last about 2 hours and 15 minutes, without intermission.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Today : world première of 'Le Silence des ombres' by Benjamin Attahir in Brussels

Today, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels presents the world première of Le Silence des ombres, a triptych composed by Benjamin Attahir with libretti in French based on Maurice Maeterlinck's plays La Mort de Tintagiles, Intérieur and Alladine et Palomides.

It is the composer's first opera.
the young composer-conductor Benjamin Attahir and director Olivier Lexa opt decidedly for silence, the invisible, the unsayable, and restrained dramatic tension. ‘The tragedy should unfold in each spectator’s dream...’. (reproduced from La Monnaie website)
The cast includes soprano Julia Szproch (Tintagiles and Alladine), soprano Raquel Camarinha (Ygraine, Marie and Astolaine), mezzo Clémence Poussin (Bellangère and Marthe) and bass Renaud Delaigue (Aglovale, Ablamore). The composer conducts the La Monnaie Chamber Ensemble. Olivier Lexa directs.

The performance should last about 3 hours and 30 minutes, with a 30 minutes interval.

The venue is the Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS).

Friday, 20 September 2019

Today : world première of 'Macbeth Underworld' by Pascal Dusapin in Brussels

Today, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels presents the world première of Macbeth Underworld, an opera by Pascal Dusapin with a libretto in French by Frédéric Boyer based on Shakespeare.

It is the composer's ninth opera after, among others Roméo et Juliette (1988), To Be Sung (Nanterre, November 17, 1994), Perelà, uomo di fumo (Paris, February 24, 2003), Faustus, the Last Night (Berlin, January 26, 2006) and Penthesilea (Brussels, March 31, 2015).
The composer delves into the darkest regions of the human soul, via iconic symbols of evil in humankind : Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The result is a bloodstained gothic opera, in which the ill-fated couple is condemned to relive its own tragedy, haunting their memory and ours. (reproduced from La Monnaie website)
The cast includes mezzo Magdalena Kozena (Lady Macbeth), baritone Georg Nigl (Macbeth), soprano Ekaterina Lekhina, mezzo Lilly Jørstad, mezzo Christel Loetzsch (Three Weird Sisters), bass Kristinn Sigmundsson (Ghost) and tenor Graham Clark (Porter). Alain Altinoglu conducts La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Women's Chorus. Thomas Jolly directs.

The performance should last 1 hour and 45 minutes. No interval.

The opera will susequently be performed in Paris (Opéra Comique, starting March 25, 2020) and Rouen with Franck Ollu conducting.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Today : world première of 'Denis & Katya' by Philip Venables in Philadelphia

Today, the Opera Philadelphia presents the world première of Denis & Katya, an opera composed by Philip Venables with a libretto by Ted Huffman.

It is the composer's third opera after The Schmürz (chamber opera after Boris Vian (London Contemporary Opera, 2012) and 4.48 Psychosis (London, May 24, 2016).
They could have been your teenage children, best friends, or classmates. Two beautiful 15-year-olds who lived every moment − including their last − online. What led to their violent deaths ? Why did they choose to broadcast their final moments on social media ? And what does it say about the voyeuristic society who watched, liked, and objectified them, transforming two kids into clickbait ? (reproduced from the Opera Philadelphia website)
The cast includes baritone Theo Hoffman and mezzo Siena Licht Miller. Emily Senturia conducts the orchestra. Ted Huffman directs.

The performance should alst about 70 minutes, with no intermission. It is part of the Festival O19. The venue is the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

The work is published by Ricordi.

Further performances by Music Theatre Wales across Wales and England in February and March 2020 and in Montpellier.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

New recordings in my collection : 'Dog Days' by Little and 'Paul's Case' by Spears

I have recently acquired two new recordings of contemporary operas :

- David T. Little : Dog Days, recorded live at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArt) in Los Angeles, June 11-15, 2015.
The opera was first performed in Montclair, NJ, on September 29, 2012.
The cast includes James Bobick, Marnie Breckenridge, Cherry Duke, John Kelly, Michael Marcotte, Peter Tantsits and Lauren Worsham. Alan Pierson conducts the Newspeak ensemble.

- Gregory Spears : Paul's Case, recorded on August 6-8, 2018 at SUNY.
The opera was first performed in Arlington, VA, on April 20, 2013.
The cast inclues Melissa Wimbish, Erin Sanzero, Amanda Crider, Jonathan Blalock, Michael Slattery, Keith Phares and James Shaffran. Robert Wood conducts the American Modern Ensemble.

I have more than 2300 opera recordings. The complete list is available here.