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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.