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Golem

Golem

Chamber opera in two acts

(Prelude and Legend)

Words and music by John Casken

Libretto created in collaboration with Pierre Audi


  • Edition: Performance material
  • Language: English
  • Order No.: LSL 1306-01

Description
The Maharal, a rabbi in sixteenth-century Prague, makes a huge man from clay through the power of the Kabbalah. This man, the golem, is meant to stand as an invincible force to protect the innocent and to obey his maker without question. However, the golem cannot be controlled in this way: he develops a sense of curiosity and begins to experience human feelings – in particular, towards the Maharal’s daughter, Miriam. A wounded figure, Ometh, a Promethean figure of hope and conscience, pursues the golem in the hope that they may work together, but the Maharal will not allow this to detract from his golem's mission and blocks the union. As far as the people from the town are concerned, the golem is a suspicious stranger, and they treat him scornfully as an outsider. They prepare to strike out against their miserable condition, but the golem's strength turns against those he has come to protect and he kills an innocent man with his axe. The Maharal has to accept that the living man he made must be returned to clay.
John Casken's first opera, written to a commission from the Almeida Festival for an intimate, atmospheric venue, is a rich score of sustained lyrical invention, despite its small ensemble of just 10 players plus pre-recorded sound. Casken has adapted the golem legend to reflect the pity and futility of absolute power and its inevitable outcome. In the process, he has created memorable and sympathetic characters and serves them with eloquent vocal writing and a strong feeling for dramatic pace and colour.
Details
Auftragswerk : commissioned by the Almeida Festival with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain
Performance duration: 95' 0"
Publisher: Schott Music Ltd., London
Uraufführung : 28. Juni 1989 London, Almeida Theatre (UK) · Dirigent: Richard Bernas · Inszenierung: Pierre Audi · Kostüme: Hildegard Bechtler · Bühnenbild: Kyoji Takubo
Year of composition: 1986 - 1988
instrumentation: fl(pic,afl).ca.Bbcl(Acl,bcl,ssax,asax)-hn.tbn-1perc(angklung, bell tree, 2bng, cabaça, 5clay plant-pots, chains, lg cow bell, sizz cym, 3sus cym, b.d, pedal b.d, log drum, frusta, gong, guiro, h.h, 4r.toms, 3spring coils, tam-t, 4tempbl, 2wdbl, crot, flex, mar)-electronic tape-hp-vn.vc.db
occupation: Maharal · baritone - Golem · bass-baritone - Miriam · soprano - Ometh · countertenor - Stoikus · tenor - Gerty · mezzo-soprano - Stump · tenor - Jadek · baritone
Performances
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-20 | Angers (France), Grand Théâtre — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-19 | Angers (France), Grand Théâtre — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-14 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 14.30 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-12 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-10 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-09 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-15 | Quimper (France), Théâtre de Cornouaille
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-09 | Rennes (France), Opéra de Rennes — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-07 | Rennes (France), Opéra de Rennes — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-06 | Rennes (France), Opéra de Rennes — 20.00 h | national Premiere
Conductor: Diego Masson
2000-07-28 | Aspen, CO (United States of America), Wheeler Opera House
Conductor: Diego Masson
2000-07-26 | Aspen, CO (United States of America), Wheeler Opera House
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-03-23 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-03-06 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-02-23 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund | national Premiere
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-02-19 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund | national Premiere
Orchestra: Northern Sinfonia
1991-05-02 | (United Kingdom)
Conductor: Richard Bernas
1989-06-28 | London (United Kingdom), Almeida Theatre | World Premiere
Awards
Jan 1, 1990
Winner of the first Britten Prize for Composition

Jan 1, 1993
Gramophone Award - Best Contemporary Recording

Audio Stream
The Maharal, a rabbi in sixteenth-century Prague, makes a huge man from clay through the power of the Kabbalah. This man, the golem, is meant to stand as an invincible force to protect the innocent and to obey his maker without question. However, the golem cannot be controlled in this way: he develops a sense of curiosity and begins to experience human feelings – in particular, towards the Maharal’s daughter, Miriam. A wounded figure, Ometh, a Promethean figure of hope and conscience, pursues the golem in the hope that they may work together, but the Maharal will not allow this to detract from his golem's mission and blocks the union. As far as the people from the town are concerned, the golem is a suspicious stranger, and they treat him scornfully as an outsider. They prepare to strike out against their miserable condition, but the golem's strength turns against those he has come to protect and he kills an innocent man with his axe. The Maharal has to accept that the living man he made must be returned to clay.
John Casken's first opera, written to a commission from the Almeida Festival for an intimate, atmospheric venue, is a rich score of sustained lyrical invention, despite its small ensemble of just 10 players plus pre-recorded sound. Casken has adapted the golem legend to reflect the pity and futility of absolute power and its inevitable outcome. In the process, he has created memorable and sympathetic characters and serves them with eloquent vocal writing and a strong feeling for dramatic pace and colour.
Auftragswerk : commissioned by the Almeida Festival with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain
Performance duration: 95' 0"
Publisher: Schott Music Ltd., London
Uraufführung : 28. Juni 1989 London, Almeida Theatre (UK) · Dirigent: Richard Bernas · Inszenierung: Pierre Audi · Kostüme: Hildegard Bechtler · Bühnenbild: Kyoji Takubo
Year of composition: 1986 - 1988
instrumentation: fl(pic,afl).ca.Bbcl(Acl,bcl,ssax,asax)-hn.tbn-1perc(angklung, bell tree, 2bng, cabaça, 5clay plant-pots, chains, lg cow bell, sizz cym, 3sus cym, b.d, pedal b.d, log drum, frusta, gong, guiro, h.h, 4r.toms, 3spring coils, tam-t, 4tempbl, 2wdbl, crot, flex, mar)-electronic tape-hp-vn.vc.db
occupation: Maharal · baritone - Golem · bass-baritone - Miriam · soprano - Ometh · countertenor - Stoikus · tenor - Gerty · mezzo-soprano - Stump · tenor - Jadek · baritone
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-20 | Angers (France), Grand Théâtre — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-19 | Angers (France), Grand Théâtre — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-14 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 14.30 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-12 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-10 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2007-01-09 | Nantes (France), Théâtre Graslin — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-15 | Quimper (France), Théâtre de Cornouaille
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-09 | Rennes (France), Opéra de Rennes — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-07 | Rennes (France), Opéra de Rennes — 20.00 h
Conductor: Philippe Nahon
Orchestra: Ars Nova ensemble instrumental
2006-11-06 | Rennes (France), Opéra de Rennes — 20.00 h | national Premiere
Conductor: Diego Masson
2000-07-28 | Aspen, CO (United States of America), Wheeler Opera House
Conductor: Diego Masson
2000-07-26 | Aspen, CO (United States of America), Wheeler Opera House
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-03-23 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-03-06 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-02-23 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund | national Premiere
Conductor: Peter Kuhn
1994-02-19 | Dortmund (Germany), Theater Dortmund | national Premiere
Orchestra: Northern Sinfonia
1991-05-02 | (United Kingdom)
Conductor: Richard Bernas
1989-06-28 | London (United Kingdom), Almeida Theatre | World Premiere
Jan 1, 1990
Winner of the first Britten Prize for Composition

Jan 1, 1993
Gramophone Award - Best Contemporary Recording

Other Editions
  • Golem
    ED 12379
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    Incl. VAT and excl. shipping
  • Golem
    ED 12379-01
    €8.50  *
    Incl. VAT and excl. shipping