On 16 December, the world premiere of Wilfried Hiller’s children’s opera Momo will take place at Munich’s Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, staged by Nicole Claudia Weber and conducted by Michael Brandstätter. Anna Woll will play the title role of Momo, alongside the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz chorus and children’s choir. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Wilfried Hiller: Momo”
To celebrate Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s centenary year, the Volksbühne Berlin will present his radio oratorio Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott (The People’s Maintenance Payments case against God) staged for the first time on 26 November in a production by Christian Filips. A number of ensembles from Berlin will come together for the performance to form an immense cast, with Kai-Uwe Jirka conducting.
Living amongst the devastation of World War II in Cologne, Zimmermann composed Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott based on Hubert Rüttger’s German translation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s play Los Alimentos del hombre. The oratorio was first broadcast in 1952 in collaboration with the Cologne Westdeutscher Rundfunk, but was subsequently largely forgotten. The work features elements of melodrama, opera and early electronic music, while also drawing upon the music of Germany’s post-war occupiers, such as the jazz of the Americans, the French timbre of Debussy, and musical quotations from the Ballet Russes.
Bernd Alois Zimmermann – Des Menschen Unterhaltsprozess gegen Gott: a radio oratorio
Des Menschen begins with Adam violating God’s command, resulting in his banishment from the Garden of Eden to live on earth working as a farmer. Adam quickly grows tired of his new life, so when he one day meets the Devil, he readily accepts the Devil’s advice to sue God for maintenance, beginning a great metaphysical trial.
“The peculiarity and significance of this dedication to the glorification of the Holy Eucharist, with such intimate combinations of words and music, lends itself perfectly to the form of radio oratorio … I am looking forward to this great and beautiful task, above all because it could rescue an almost completely unknown work by Calderón from undeserved oblivion.” – Bernd Alois Zimmermann
Further performances commemorating Zimmermann’s centenary year include Dialogues, Symphony in One Movement and Monologues by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich on 14 December, and the WDR Symphony Orchestra will present a selection of Zimmermann’s works at the Kölner Philharmonie on 14 & 15 December, including his Violin Concerto.
On 22 November, the RIAS Kammerchor will perform Anton Bruckner’s Reqiuem in D minor and Libera me in F minor at the Berlin Philharmonie alongside the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, conducted by Łukasz Borowicz. They will perform using the new Anton Bruckner Urtext Complete Edition, edited by Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Anton Bruckner: Requiem in D minor and Libera me in F minor”
On 10 November 2018, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera The Silver Tassie (1997-1999) in concert as part of their In Remembrance World War I series at the Barbican in London. Ryan Wigglesworth will conduct, with an excellent cast including Sally Matthews, Sir John Tomlinson, Claire Booth, Marcus Farnsworth, Louise Alder, Susan Bickley, and Ashley Riches as Harry, the lead character. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Mark-Anthony Turnage: The Silver Tassie”
From 3 November, the Dresden Semperoper Ballet will present Paul Hindemith’s Theme with Four Variations as part of their evening of ballet “Labyrinth”. The ballet will employ George Balanchine’s original choreography, accompanied by the Staatskapelle Dresden and pianist Alfredo Miglionico, conducted by Nathan Fifield. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Paul Hindemith: Theme with four Variations”
On 24 October, ArtPower and the music department of the University Of California San Diego will present the world premiere of Lei Liang’s new chamber opera Inheritance. The performance will take place at San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Music Center, with Steven Schick conducting and soprano Susan Narucki in the title role of Sarah Winchester, joined on stage by baritone Josueì Cerón and sopranos Kirsten Ashley Wiest and Hillary Jean Young. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Lei Liang: Inheritance”
On 21 October, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) will stage their first complete operetta at the Lee Foundation Theatre in celebration of their 80th anniversary. The operetta is Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, which will be directed by David Edwards and conducted by Lim Yau, with a cast and orchestra made up of students, teachers and alumni of NAFA. The operetta will be sung in German, with spoken dialogue in English and Mandarin. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus”
This year, Opera Factory Freiburg have built their programme around their production of Viktor Ullmann’s chamber opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Emperor of Atlantis) directed by Joachim Rathke. Complementary to this programming, Atlantis, Anno Schreier’s new prologue and epilogue to Der Kaiser von Atlantis, will be premiered on 13 October at the E-Werk in Freiburg im Breisgau.
Opera Factory Freiburg commissioned Atlantis expressly for their Ullmann programme, however in order to preserve the autonomy of his composition, Schreier avoided motivic references to Ullmann’s music almost entirely. While the prologue can be played as an independent concert work, the epilogue is inseparable from Ullmann’s opera. Klaus Simon, the artistic director of the Opera Factory, will also contribute to the programme with four new arrangements of Ullmann songs for the company’s resident orchestra the Holst Sinfonietta.
Anno Schreier – Atlantis: mystery and menace
Der Kaiser von Atlantis tells the story of a cruel emperor who declares a war on everyone. The character of Death feels usurped and refuses his duties, meaning everyone lives for eternity and the emperor’s war is in vain. A soldier and a girl confront each other in battle, but being unable to kill each other, they fall in love. In an attempt to ease the suffering of the people, Harlequin appeals to the emperor’s compassion by awakening his childhood memories, causing him to finally regret the pain he is causing. Death promises to resume his role and restore order, on the condition that the emperor voluntarily dies.
For me, the word ‘Atlantis’ musically evokes slow sounds rising from the depths, creating a mysterious, yet menacing atmosphere. It is only in two places that a characteristic fanfare from Ullmann’s opera emerges, like a sudden memory or announcement. – Anno Schreier
Following the premiere Atlantis will be staged in four further performances as part of Opera Factory Freiburg’s Ullmann programme.
© Holst-Sinfonietta / Foto: Anke Nevermann
On 5 October, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra open their season with the world premiere of Pēteris Vasks´ Oboe Concerto in Riga’s Great Guild, Latvia, with Andris Poga conducting and the internationally acclaimed Albrecht Mayer as soloist.
On 29 September 2018, a new production of Arnold Schoenberg’s celebrated opera Moses and Aron directed by Calixto Bieito opens at the Semperoper Dresden, with John Tomlinson and Lance Ryan in the title roles of Moses and Aron. Alan Gilbert will conduct, before beginning his new post as principal conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in 2019.