Saturday, 3 July 2021

Today : world première of Kaija Saariaho's 'Innocence' in Aix-en-Provence


Today, the Festival International d'Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence presents the world première of Innocence, an opera in five acts composed by Kaija Saariaho with an original Finnish libretto by Sofi Oksanen and a multilingual libretto by Aleksi Barrière (Finnish, Czech, Romanian, French and English).


It is the composer's fifth opera after L'Amour de loin (Salzburg, August 15, 2000), Adriana Mater (Paris, April 3, 2006), Émilie (Lyon, March 1, 2010) and Only the Sound Remains (Amsterdam, March 15, 2016).

It is a typical wedding for a cosmopolitan city, in present-day Finland. The fiancé is Finnish, the bride Romanian, and the mother-in-law French. But suddenly, during the wedding banquet, the Czech waitress feels ill… Ten years earlier, these characters were struck by a tragic event. Ghosts revive their memories of the trauma, which occurred in a school; there is a guilty haze, a lost innocence. (reproduced from the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence website)

The cast includes mezzo Magdalena Kozena (The Waitress Tereza), soprano Lilian Farahani (The Bride Stela), soprano Sandrine Piau (The Mothe-in-Law Patricia), tenor Markus Nykänen (The Bridegroom Tuomas), baritone Tuomas Pursio (The Father-in-Law Henrik) and bass baritone Jukka Rasilainen (The Priest). Susanna Mälkki conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Simon Stone directs.

The score is published by Chester Music. The required orchestra is the following :

- 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- timpani and 4 percussions ;
- harp, piano and celesta ;
- strings (

The performance should last 1 hour and 45 minutes.The venue is the Grand Théâtre de Provence.


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