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Work of the Week – Thomas Larcher: The Hunting Gun

On 15 August, Thomas Larcher’s The Hunting Gun will receive its world premiere at Bregenz Festival in a production directed by the acclaimed Austrian actor and film director Karl Markovics. Michael Boder will conduct Ensemble Modern, Schola Heidelberg vocal ensemble and an exceptional cast including Sarah Aristidou, Giulia Peri, Olivia Vermeulen, Robin Tritschler and André Schuen.

Commissioned by the Bregenz Festival, The Hunting Gun is a captivating adaptation of Yasushi Inoue’s 1949 novella of the same name, with a libretto by Friederike Gösweiner. Over three acts the opera tells the story of a secret love affair through a series of three different letters.

Thomas Larcher – The Hunting Gun: A timeless story

The opera opens with a poem sung by a chorus of voices describing a solitary, lonely hunter. Believing himself to be the figure depicted in the poem, the hunter Josuke Misugi writes to the Poet to explain the cause of his melancholy. Through three letters from three women connected with Misugi – his wife, his niece and his lover – a story of multi-layered deception and secrets gradually unfolds, ending in tragedy.

“When I read the story of The Hunting Gun for the first time, I was immediately captured by its timelessness. The central focuses of the work are the illusions we maintain in almost every relationship, as well as the ultimate, profound loneliness inherent in every human being. The music takes on the role of illustrating the storms raging within the various protagonists, shedding a microscopically fine light on their emotions.” – Thomas Larcher

 Two further performances of The Hunting Gun will take place at Bregenz Festival on 17 & 18 August, and the opera will receive its UK premiere in 2019.

On 6 August, Bregenz Festival also featured the Austrian premiere of Larcher’s first symphony Alle Tage for orchestra and baritone, performed by the Wiener Symphoniker and baritone Benjamin Appl under the baton of Karina Canellakis. In February 2019, Canellakis will conduct the UK premiere of Alle Tage with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Oliemans as soloist.


© illustration: Bregenzer Festspiele GmbH / moodley brand identity