Michael Wertmüller: DIODATI. NEVERENDING (2019)

A group of Britons with literary ambitions involved in a ménage á six travel to Switzerland in 1816 in search of «sublime» nature – they include Percy Shelley and his later wife Mary, Lord Byron and his personal physician John Polidori. However, the catastrophic weather of this legendary «year without a summer», the result of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, forces the friends to wait for eight days in a villa on Lake Geneva. Here these cosmopolitan libertines – in no small measure under the influence of hallucinogens – tell each other made up stories about creatures controlled by others that reflect the depths of their own personalities – as well as their longing to actively shape their lives and to tackle social problems …

Starting with this historic meeting at which Mary Shelley’s «Frankenstein» was created – amongst other works – in their opera Swiss composer Michael Wertmüller and German playwright Dea Loher tell a story of the search for freedom and individuality in a world which seems to have lost its balance. The combination of Wertmüller’s high energy, explosive music – an intoxicating mixture of twelve tone music, blues and heavy metal – and Loher’s unfussy language that lends credibility to her frequently historical subjects and stories already created a sensation in their first collaboration, the chamber opera «Weine nicht, singe» (Don’t Cry – Sing) at Hamburg State Opera. «Diodati. Unendlich» is the first opera this established creative duo has written for the main stage.

Links:

https://www.theater-basel.ch/Spielplan/Diodati-Unendlich/og1oloCl/Pv4Ya/?lang=en

Composer:

http://michaelwertmueller.com/


Gabriel Prokofiev: Elizabetta (2019)

Commissioned by Regensburg Opera and written in collaboration with celebrated librettist David Poutney (director of WNO), Elizabetta is a contemporary, thriller opera inspired by the infamous Countess Elisabeth Báthory.

Set in the present day, Elizabetta opens as a satire of the current obsession with fitness and health, and Instagram narcissism, before delving into darker, more serious issues – such as human trafficking, the Ebola crisis, slavery, adoption and DNA testing  – prompting the question: what is the true cost of vanity and our yearning for self preservation?

Scored for full symphony orchestra, electronics and extensive percussion, Gabriel brings a refreshingly 21st century approach to Elizabetta, fusing classic operatic aria & recitative with techno & dance, TV-commercials, Congolese song, contemporary classical and electronic music.

This fast-paced, 25 scene, poly-stylistic ‘cinematic’ opera is directed by critically acclaimed German director Marcus Lobbes, with projection-led design from Michael Deeg, ingenious costumes from Christl Wein, featuring Regensburg Opera’s versatile soloists and 24-strong chorus. Conducted by Chin-Chao Lin.

Links:

https://www.theater-regensburg.de/spielplan/details/elizabetta/

https://gabrielprokofiev.com/


Ellen Reid: p r i s m (2018)

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music, p r i s m tells the story of an ill girl, Bibi, and her doting mother, Lumee, who live in a pristine sanctuary. Locked away from the world, Bibi and Lumee try to protect each other from the dangerous illness that lurks outside their door and has already infected Bibi’s legs- leaving her unable to walk. Every day Lumee attempts to feed Bibi medicine to heal her, yet each time Bibi is about to swallow her dose the Outside erupts into a fury- scaring Bibi from taking her medicine. One night, desperate to please her strict mother, Bibi attempts to swallow all of her missed doses, when she is interrupted by an intoxicating Blue light that pierces the sanctuary through the crack under their door. Seduced by the Outside’s kaleidoscopic beckoning, Bibi begins to rebel against her mother’s orders- fracturing their relationship and fragile life inside the sanctuary. Blinded by colors and memories new and familiar, Bibi must choose between abandoning her mother to discover the truth of her illness Outside, or accept her mother’s stories in order to hold on to the only life she’s ever known. p r i s m explores the elasticity of memory after trauma, and the lengths to which one will go to “feel better”- no matter the price.

Music ELLEN REID | Libretto ROXIE PERKINS
Direction JAMES DARRAH | Music direction JULIAN WACHNER
Choreography/assistant direction CHRIS EMILE
Scenic design ADAM RIGG | Costume design MOLLY IRELAN
Lighting design PABLO SANTIAGO-BRANDWEIN | Sound design GARTH MACALEAVEY
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects in association with Trinity Church Wall Street

Websites:
https://www.bethmorrisonprojects.org/prism
https://ellenreidmusic.com/

George Benjamin: Lessons in Love and Violence (2018)

A king is forced to choose between love and a tough political stance. He takes a fateful decision, plunging the country into civil war and turning his own wife and son irreconcilably against him. But once the son has learned a few painful lessons in realpolitik and the ‘surgical’ use of violence, he commits a terrible act of violence in front of his own mother – with the intention of making peace.

For Lessons in Love and ViolenceGeorge Benjamin and author Martin Crimp were inspired by the quick scene changes and the vulnerable, complicated characters of Elizabethan drama. Their new opera is therefore also concerned with the question of whether – and to what extent – the dangerous machinery of power leaves scope for love and affection.

Musical director: George Benjamin
Author: Martin Crimp
Stage director: Katie Mitchell
Sets and costumes: Vicki Mortimer
Lighting: James Farncombe
Director of movement: Joseph Alford
Orchestra: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
King: Stéphane Degout
Isabel: Barbara Hannigan
Gaveston/ Stranger: Gyula Orendt
Mortimer: Peter Hoare
Boy/Young King: Samuel Boden
Witness 1/ Singer 1/ Woman 1: Jennifer France
Witness 2/ Singer 2/ Woman 2: Krisztina Szabó
Witness 3 / Madman: Andri Björn Róbertsson
Girl: Ocean Barrington-Cook

https://www.operaballet.nl/en/opera/2017-2018/show/lessons-love-and-violence

Eva Reiter: MITRA (2018)

The portrait of an Iranian psychoanalyst who is wrongfully interned and her battle for freedom with almost mythical proportions.Following the cry for help from his Iranian colleague Mitra Kadivar, psychoanalyst Jacques-Alain Miller tries to free her from a psychiatric hospital in Teheran by means of e-mail correspondence. Based on this heartfelt correspondence Mitra brings the story of Kadivar’s fight. On the crossroads between opera, film and installation is this a genuine cry from the depths of imprisonment and isolation. Mitra attests of the resistance of our humanity, which is vulnerable and stands up against everything that destroys it. Besides this on-stage version Jorge León also made the film ‘Mitra’ which will be shown in selected international cinemas from autumn 2018.

CONCEPT | DIRECTION: JORGE LEÓN • COMPOSITION: EVA REITER • COMPOSITION CHORAL PARTS: GEORGE VAN DAM • MUSICAL SUPERVISION: GEORGES-ELIE OCTORS • DRAMATURGY: ISABELLE DUMONT • SCENOGRAPHY: THIBAULT VANCRAENENBROECK • COSTUMES: SILVIA HASENCLEVER • VIDEO: ALIOCHA VAN DER AVOORT • IMAGES: JORGE LEÓN • ALIOCHA VAN DER AVOORT • THOMAS SCHIRA • LIGHTING DESIGN: PETER QUASTERS • SOUND DESIGN: ALEXANDRE FOSTIER • SOPRANO: CLARON MCFADDEN • VOICES: MITRA KADIVAR • JAQUES-ALIN MILLER • PERFORMER: SIMONE AUGHTERLONY • CHILD: LAURENZ SCHÄFER • ENSEMBLE: ICTUS • MICHAEL SCHMID (FLUTE) • GERRIT NULENS (PERCUSSION) • GEORGE VAN DAM (VIOLIN) • EVA REITER (PAETZOLD RECORDER & BASS VIOLIN) • VOCALS: MM SOLISTS ENSEMBLE OF LA MONNAIE • CHOIR COACH: POLINA BOGDANOVA

Ictus: https://www.ictus.be/mitra

Transparant: http://www.transparant.be/en/productions/mitraEN-2018-2019

Hauen und Stechen: Fidelio – Ein deutscher Albtraum in vier Folgen (2018)

SCHWARZ. ЯOTZ. GOLD. STURM.

FIDELIO-EIN DEUTSCHER ALBTRAUM IN VIER FOLGEN nach Ludwig van Beethoven.

Um ihren politisch verfolgten Gatten aus dem Gefängnis zu befreien, arbeitet Leonore undercover als Gefängniswärter Fidelio. Doch nicht nur die Gefangenen, auch das Gefängnispersonal lebt gefährlich: In einem unübersichtlichen Fegefeuer der Folter und der Bürokratie muss es sich zwischen Karriere, Angst und der Hoffnung auf privates Glück zerreißen, während die versprochene symphonische Gerechtigkeit der utopischen Republik auf sich warten lässt. Statt treuer Gattenliebe und einem Schulbuchhumanismus erwarten Leonore in Schwarz-Rotz-Gold-Sturm. Fidelio – Ein deutscher Albtraum in vier Folgen eine lesbische Liebe und große Lust auf Kampf.

In ЯOTZ, dem zweiten Teil der Serie, hüllt sich Beethovens Befreiungsoper in rote Gewänder, um den Leichen aus den Kerkern des deutschen Idealismus auf den Leim zu gehen. Rot ist das Blut der Herrschenden, rot sind die Knöchel der Gerechten und das glühende Eisen, das sich auf ihre Haut presst. Rot ist die untergehende Sonne und das beginnende Fest, bei dem geknutscht und gerauft wird, vielleicht bis zur Revolution. Nach wie vielen Flaschen hört der Glaube an den Rechtsstaat auf? Nach wie vielen Flaschen öffnen wir die Tore der Gefängnisse?

VON UND MIT Musiktheaterkollektiv HAUEN•UND•STECHEN | REGIE Julia Lwowski | DRAMATURGIE Maria Buzhor | BÜHNE Romy Springsguth | KOSTÜME Ingibjörg Jara Sigurðardóttir | VIDEO Martin Mallon | SOPRAN Angela Braun | SCHAUSPIEL Gina-Lisa Maiwald, Wieland Schönfelder | BRATSCHE Louis Bona | SCHLAGWERK Evdoxia Filippou | KLAVIER/ORGEL Roman Lemberg | PERFORMANCE Geoffroy Grison, Tatjana Moutchnik REGIEASSISTENZ Marie Roth | AUSSTATTUNGSASSISTENZ Charlotta Hench | AUSSTATTUNGSHOSPITANZ Jorinde Sturm

Eine Produktion von Musiktheaterkollektiv HAUEN•UND•STECHEN in Koproduktion mit SOPHIENSÆLE. Gefördert im Fonds Doppelpass der Kulturstiftung des Bundes und durch die Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa – Spartenoffene Förderung.

http://www.hauen-und-stechen.com

Damien Ricketson: THE HOWLING GIRLS (2018)

In the weeks following Sept 11, five young women present separately to hospitals in New York with identical symptoms. They are unable to swallow, and believe that some debris or body part from the destruction has lodged in their throats. The surgeon who examines them finds no obstruction.

The Howling Girls is a new chamber opera dissecting the medium and metaphor of the voice, its loss and attempted reconstitution. A solo voice constricted, wheezing, stammering, in decay, a teenage chorus of howling girls, an absent mass, an unearthly theremin, a spectacle of fragmented bodies and voices. A sublime aural and perceptual encounter.

  • Composer: Damien Ricketson
  • Musical Director: Jack Symonds
  • Director: Adena Jacobs
  • Set & Costume Design: Eugyeene Teh
  • Lighting Design: Jenny Hector
  • Sound Design: Bob Scott
  • With: Jane Sheldon and teenagers from 
    The House that Dan Built: Grace Campbell,
    Kittu Hoyne, Kiri Jenssen, Emily Pincock, 
    Jayden Selvakumaraswamy, Sylvie Woodhouse
  • Dates: 8pm Wed 28 March, Tue 3, Wed 4, Fri 6, Sat 7 April 2018
  • Venue: Carriageworks Bay 20, 245 Wilson St Eveleigh

Composers Website: https://www.curiousnoise.com/live/

Venues Website: https://sydneychamberopera.com/?p=2441

Klaus Janek: MUSRAOPERA (2018)

During the month-long residency in the quarter of Musrara sounding situations developed a participatory mobile radio opera based on the voices of the neighbourhood. In a collective dialogue we draw a description of the present and futures to be heard in an acoustic portrait. The piece moves as a radiophonic opera through the city landscape transforming it into its stage. How to deal with a format full of past and tradition like the opera, when present is the moment we have, the time frame and power to make transformation happen? Theatre and performance are a strategy to imagine in a concrete way what we do not know and how (personal and collective) history could be staged. It is the fictive rehearsal and master training of transforming the uncertain present into a wished future world in which we want to construct our broader neighbourhood.

Composers website: http://sounding-situations.com/musraropera

Heinz Holliger: Lunea (2018)

The poet Nikolaus Lenau is one of the most fascinating artistic personalities of the Romantic period. A dramatist, political intellectual, guitarist and violinist, as well as the most successful lyricist of the Biedermeier period, he was a highly talented polymath. Lenau led a restless, intense life informed by his love for a succession of women before becoming mentally deranged in 1844, remaining in psychiatric care until his death in 1850. His most passionate and almost lifelong love affair was with Sophie von Löwenthal, the wife of his friend Max. With Sophie, Lenau maintained a dual correspondence that was split between “official” letters and unrestrainedly intimate messages.

The Swiss musician Heinz Holliger, one of today’s most important composers, was so drawn to Nikolaus Lenau’s transgressive life, work, ideas and sensibility that he made the figure of the poet the subject of his song Lunea, which was premièred by Christian Gerhaher five years ago at Zurich Opera House. Lunea in turn became the nucleus of a new opera about Nikolaus Lenau, which will now be premièred at Zurich Opera House.

Lenau-Szenen in 23 Lebensblättern by Heinz Holliger (*1939)

Musical director: Heinz Holliger
Librettist: Händl Klaus
Producer: Andreas Homoki
Stage design: Frank Philipp Schlössmann
Costumes: Klaus Bruns
Musical assistance: Michael Richter
Lighting designer: Franck Evin
Choir director: Raphael Immoos
Dramaturgy: Claus Spahn

Lenau: Christian Gerhaher
Sophie von Löwenthal: Juliane Banse
Anton Schurz: Ivan Ludlow
Marie Behrends/Karoline Unger: Sarah Maria Sun
Therese Schurz: Annette Schönmüller

Philharmonia Zürich
Basler Madrigalisten
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich

World Premiere: 4 March 2018

https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/lunea/season_11232/

Joe Diebes: Oyster (2018)

oyster is a new opera (in progress) about a surprising precursor to last.fm and Pandora. In the 1960’s, renowned American folklorist Alan Lomax developed a wildly ambitious system called cantometrics for coding and analyzing folk songs from every corner of the world.  The opera is structured as a public lecture of Alan Lomax’s folk song analysis as demonstrated by four singers, who embody the IBM360 mainframe computer used to correlate his vast amounts of data.  Working with the BOTCH vocal ensemble, I am reconstructing the folksong styles from regions as disparate as Bali, West Africa, and Central America using only the data from Lomax’s study.  Things like melodic complexity, vocal blend, and nasality, are adjusted by the singers as they circumnavigate the globe.   This data vocalization is further mediated by the ensemble’s distinctive extended vocal techniques, and is accompanied by a film narrative that unravels connections between cybernetics, surrealism and ethnography. The film also features a wide range of material drawn from the Alan Lomax archive at The Library of Congress.

oyster will be performed on February 20 and 21 at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) at Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn. Tickets will be available to purchase shortly, at roulette.org.

Credits:
Music, video, and libretto by Joe Diebes
Featuring: John Rose, Christina Campanella, Michael Chinworth, and Saori Tsukada
Live Staging: Phil Soltanoff
Lighting Design: Poe Saegusa
Cinematography for video: Damian Calvo
Make-Up/Costumes for video: Naomi Raddatz

http://www.joediebes.net/?portfolio=oyster-the-opera