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Work of the Week – Chaya Czernowin: Heart Chamber

The world premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s opera, Heart Chamber, for Deutsche Oper Berlin takes place on 15 November conducted by Johannes Kalitzke. The production, which has been directed by Claus Guth, is realised by a small cast of soloists consisting of Patrizia Ciofi, Noa Frenkel, Dietrich Henschel, and Terry Wey.

Czernowin has described her Deutsche Oper commission as a ‘chain of connected situations, dreams and nodal moments’ together expressing only a hint of a story. Heart Chamber is rather, as it is subtitled, ‘an enquiry about love’. The opera asks questions about what happens when we fall in love and changes love can bring, exploring love both as a desire for closeness as well as the wish for independence or as a need to overcome loneliness through an emotional bond.

This project is a departure to a new, subtle world. None of her pieces are easy to sing, but the work each one requires is worth it! She has a microscopic view on music, for example, she explores the transition of speaking and singing in tiny steps. She also understands the breathing in and out as tones. – Noa Frenkel

There will be five performances of the opera in total, with the last night of the production taking place on 6 December. Following the performances in Berlin, a DVD of the production is scheduled to be released. Also in Berlin this November, Ensemble ilinx perform Czernowin’s Lovesong and the evocatively titled, Ayre: Towed through plumes, thicket, asphalt, sawdust and hazardous air I shall not forget the sound of on 24 at the Universität der Künste Berlin.

Photo: Chaya Czernowin & Christopher McIntosh