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Work of the Week – Christian Jost: Egmont

Christian Jost’s opera Egmont premieres at Theater an der Wien on 17 February conducted by Michael Boder. The work was commissioned by the theatre for 2020 in celebration of Beethoven’s 250 Anniversary. Keith Warner has created the production for the premiere.

Egmont is based on the play of the same name by Goethe, a work to which Beethoven famously wrote incidental music. The libretto for Jost’s Egmont was adapted from the play in collaboration with Christoph Klimke for a cast of six characters and addresses both topical issues and conflicts. In the original, Prince Egmont of Gaure is portrayed to be an advocate for freedom, peace, and justice – themes that resonated strongly with Beethoven throughout his life. However, these ideas are sometimes approached from an altered perspective in the opera, which explores how society may be manipulated, and what can happen when a system falls short of its own moral and ideological values.

Christian Jost – Egmont: freedom, peace, and justice

My opera reveals a different side of Beethoven: extracts from his famous letter ‘to the immortal beloved’. The ubiquitous six-voice chorus leads us into the interior of the figures and behind the masks of their social functions in a fragile, chiseled vocal texture. – Christian Jost

Egmont will run at the Theater an der Wien until 26 February with the German premiere of the opera set to take place at Theater Bielefeld during the 2020/21 season. On 30 March, another of Jost’s operas, Voyage vers l’espoir (Reise der Hoffnung), will open in its world premiere production at the Gran Théâtre de Genève.