Saturday, 17 February 2018

Today : world première of Douglas J. Cuomo's 'Ashes and Snow' in Pittsburgh


Today, the Pittsburgh Opera presents the world première of Douglas J. Cuomo's new opera, Ashes and Snow, based on Wilhelm Müller's 24 poem cycle used by Franz Schubert for his Winterreise.


It is the composer's third opera, after Arjuna's Dilemma (Purchase, NY, August 2008) and Doubt (St. Paul, MN, January 2013).
The opera is set in the present day, and unfolds in a run-down motel room in the desert of the American West. The protagonist must confront his demons and face up to everything he has done, and all he has lost, in his life. He is searching for forgiveness, enlightenment and atonement. (reproduced from the Pittsburgh Opera website)
The singer is tenor Eric Ferring. He will be accompanied by three on-stage musicians, led from the piano by Pittsburgh Opera Director of Musical Studies Mark Trawka. Also included is a trumpet, an electric guitar played by the composer himself and electronic sound effets. Jonathan Moore directs.

The opera will be performed at Pittsburgh Opera headquarters. The performance should last about 75 minutes.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

10 new program books in my collection


I have recently acquired the program books for the following performances :


- Michel van der Aa, After Life, Lyon, March 18, 2010
The opera was first performed in Amsterdam on June 2, 2006, and I have the program book for the new version first performed in Amsterdam on September 28, 2009.
It is a 113 pages book, with the complete bilingual libretto (English / French).
- Robert Aldridge, Sister Carrie, Milwaukee, October 7, 2016
It is a 52 pages brochure. The opera was recorded and published by Naxos.
- Ricky Ian Gordon, The House Without a Christmas Tree, Houston, November 30, 2017.
It is a 64 pages brochure.



- Hans Werner Henze, L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe, Lyon, June 24, 2005
The opera was first performed in Salzburg on August 12, 2003. I have the program book for the world première, the DVD recording (EuroArts) as well as the two scores published by Chester Music (vocal score and full score).
It is a 158 pages book, with the complete bilingual libretto (German / French).
- Toshio Hosokawa, Hanjo, Lyon, March 5, 2008
The opera was first performed in Aix-en-Provence on July 8, 2004.
It is a 87 pages book, with the complete bilingual libretto (English / French) and a separate 12 pages booklet with cast and biographies.
- Helmut Oehring, Kunst muss (zu weit gehen) oder der Engel schwieg, Köln, December 9, 2017.
It is a 64 pages book.



- Rachel J. Peters, Rootabaga Country, Sarasota, November 11, 2017.
It is a 80 pages book published for the 2017 Fall Season of Sarasota Opera.
- Kevin Puts, Elizabeth Cree, Philadelphia, September 14, 2017.
It is a 132 pages book for the Festival O17, including also complete cast for two other new operas : The Wake World by David Hertzberg (September 17, 2017) and We Shall Not Be Moved by Daniel Bernard Roumain (September 16, 2017).


- Andres Reukauf, König Drosselbart, Hagen, November 12, 2017.
It is a 16 pages booklet.
- Kaija Saariaho, Only the Sound Remains, Paris, January 23, 2018
The opera was first performed in Amsterdam on March 15, 2016. I have the Blu Ray recording of the Dutch production.
It is a 120 pages book, the the complete bilingual libretto (English / French).

I now have 516 program books for contemporary operas. I have scanned all the covers and uploaded them to this flickr folder.

Today : world première of Gordon Kampe's 'Frankenstein' in Berlin


Today, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin presents the world première of Gordon Kampe's new musical theatre piece, Frankenstein, with a libretto based on Mary Shelley's novel.


He has already composed several pieces in the same genre, including the very successful Kannst du pfeifen, Johanna (2013).
Like a Doctor Faustus, like Prometheus, Viktor Frankenstein seems to be overstepping the bounds of human capacity when he creates living matter out of dead flesh. Director Maximilian von Mayenburg and his design team are transforming the Tischlerei into a laboratory - in which the audience will be in on the creation of human life and get a feel of the trials and tribulations of both creator and monster against an atmospheric backdrop of musical shards and sound effects. (reproduced from the Deutsche Oper Berlin website)
The cast includes soprano Sandra Hamaoui, tenor Andrew Dickinson, actor Christopher Nell and Actress Anna Rot. Jens Holzkamp conducts musicians from the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper. Maximilian von Mayenburg directs. The performance takes place at the Tischlerei.

The American composer Mark Grey already composed an opera with the same title, first performed in Brussels on June 14, 2016.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Today : world première of 'Die Banalität der Liebe' by Ella Mich-Sheriff in Regensburg


Today, the Theater Regensburg presents the world première of Die Banalität der Liebe (The Banality of Love), an opera composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff with a libretto by Savyon Liebrecht.


It is the composer's third opera after And the Rat laughed (Tel-Aviv, 2005) and Baruch's Silence (Braunschweig, 2010).
This opera discusses central questions of recent German history : questions about delusion, guilt and the nature of evil. And of love. (freely adapted from the Theater Regensburg website)
The cast includes soprano Sara-Maria Saalmann (Hannah Arendt jung), mezzo Vera Semieniuk (Hannah Arendt alt), tenor Angelo Pollak (Martin Heidegger jung), baritone Adam Kruzel (Martin Heidegger alt), baritone Matthias Störmer (Rafael Mendelson), tenor Matthias Laferi (Michael Mendelson) and bass Mario Klein (Gideon Hausner). Tom Woods conducts the Opernchor Theater Regensburg and the Philharmonisches Orchester Regensburg. Itay Tiran directs.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Today : world première of 'Steal a Pencil for Me' by Gerald Cohen in Denver


Today, Opera Colorado presents the world première of Steal a Pencil for Me, an opera composed by Gerald Cohen, with a libretto by Deborah Brevoort.


It is the composer's third opera, after Sarah and Hagar (2005) and Seed (2011). Excerpts of Steal a Pencil for Me have been performed in workshops performances in New York (2013 and 2014) and Fort Worth (2016).
The action of the opera takes place in Amsterdam, at Westerbork Transit camp, and at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp between the years of 1943-1945. Thirty-year old Jaap Polak is unhappily married to Manja, a social butterfly with a sharp tongue. He falls in love with twenty-year old Ina Soep, whose boyfriend, Rudi Acohen, has been seized and deported to Poland by the Nazis. When the husband, his wife, and his new girlfriend are deported to Westerbork, they actually find themselves living in the same barracks. Jaap’s wife objects to the relationship and Jaap and Ina resort to writing secret love letters, which sustain them throughout the horrible circumstances of the war. (reproduced from the composer's website).
The cast includes soprano Inna Dukach (Ina Soep), baritone Gideon Dabi (Jaap Polak) and mezzo Adriana Zabala (Manja Polak). Ari Pelto conducts and Omer Ben Seadia directs.

The performance takes place at the Wolf Theatre, in the Mizel Arts and Culture Center in Denver.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Today : world première of Missy Mazzoli's 'Proving Up' in Washington


Today, the Washington National Opera presents the world première of Missy Mazzoli's opera Proving Up, as part of the American Opera Initiative Festival. The libretto by Royce Vavrek is based on a coming-of-age short story by Karen Russell.

(c) Stephen S. Taylor

It is the composer's fifth opera. Her previous lyrical works include the chamber opera Song from the Uproar : The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt (New York, February 2012) and Breaking the Waves (Philadelphia, September 2016).
A group of Nebraska families struggles to claim their land under the Homestead Act. In order to satisfy the grant, or "prove up," their homes must each have at least one glass window. Unable to afford such a luxury, the families recruit young Miles to ferry a single window from one home to the next, each time the inspector arrives. How will Miles handle this enormous responsibility, knowing so many depend on his help to achieve the American Dream ? (reproduced from the Kennedy Center website)
The cast includes soprano Leah Hawkins (Mrs. Joohannes 'Ma' Zegner), soprano Madison Leonard (Zegner Sister 1), mezzo Allegra De Vita (Zegner Sister 2), tenor Arnold Livingston Geis (Miles Zegner) and baritone Christopher Kenney (Mr. Johannes 'Pa' Zegner). Chris Rountree conducts and Alison Moritz directs.

The required orchestra is the following (according to the full score) :

- flute (doubling piccolo and A maj harmonica), clarinet in Bb (doubling bass clarinet and A maj harmonica), bassoon (doubling contrabassoon and E min harmonica) ;
- horn in F, trumpet in C (doubling E min harmonica) ;
- percussion (1 player) : 7 acoustic guitars, hanging on the wall in open tunings, vibraphone, glockenspiel, chime, suspended cymbal, hi-hat, triangle, brake drum, bass drum, low tom-tom, snare drum, 4 temple blocks, sandpaper, whip, tambourine ;
- piano (doubling harpsichord), harp ;
- strings.

The performance should last about 1 hour. The full score published by G. Schirmer is available on the Music Sales Classical website.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Today : world première of 'La Princesse légère' by Violeta Cruz in Lille


Today, the Opéra de Lille presents the world première of La Princesse légère (The Light Princess), a children opera composed by Violeta Cruz, with a libretto by Gilles Rico based on George MacDonald's fairy tale.


It is the composer's first opera.
Once upon a time there was a princess, a long awaited only daughter condemned from birth by a witch to complete weightlessness : of the body, preventing her from touching the ground and of the spirit, causing her to laugh about everything. What can we do with a daughter who knows nothing of the seriousness of the world wondered the king and the queen ? Fortunately the princess liked adventures…  (reproduced from the Court-Circuit Ensemble website)
The cast includes soprano Jeanne Crousaud (The Princess), mezzo Majdouline Zerari (The Queen), baritone Jean-Jacques L'Anthöen (The King) and baritone Nicholas Merryweather (The Prince). Jean Deroyer conducts the Court-Circuit Ensemble. Jos Houben and Emily Wilson direct.

The performance should last about 75 minutes.

The opera will also be performed in Paris at the Opéra Comique, from March 9 to March 12, 2018.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Today : world première of 'Kunst muss (zu weit gehen) oder der Engel schwieg' bu Helmut Oehring in Köln


Today, the Köln Oper presents the world première of Kunst muss (zu weit gehen) oder der Engel schwieg (Art must go too far or the Angel was silent), a 'docupoetical instrumental theater' composed by Helmut Oehring. The libretto is based on Heinrich Böll's speech The Freedom of Art (Wuppertal, 1966) and recollections of other participants.

(c) Daniel Naupold

Since 1996 (Dokumentation, Spoleto), Helmut Oehring has composed several works for the stage including Effi Briest (Bonn, 2001), Die Brüder Löwenherz (Dresden, 2015) and Agota (Wiesbaden, 2016).
Under the postulate 'Art has to go too far' he expressed the relationship between art, politics and society. In doing so, he spoke out firmly against the idea of ​​an art that has to please society and the power in place. (freely adapted from the Köln Oper website)
The cast includes soprano emily Hindrichs (Engel 1), mezzo Adriana Bastidas-Gamboa (Engel 2), mezzo Dalia Schaechter (Engel 3), Mia Oehring (Das junge Mädchen) and Joscha Oehring (Der Junge). Bas Wiegers conducts the Ensemble Musikfabrik, Helmut Oehring and Stefanie Wördemann direct.

The performance takes place at the Staatenhaus (Saal 3) and should last about 90 minutes.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Today : world première of 'Geisterritter' by James Reynolds in Bonn


Today, the Oper Bonn presents a new children opera composed by James Reynolds, Geisterritter (Ghost Knight), an 'operatic thriller' with a libretto by Christoph Klimke based on Cornelia Funke's novel.


It is the composer's second opera after Tucholskys Spiegel, first performed at Schlosstheater Rheinsberg on July 21, 2017.
Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft never expected to enjoy boarding school. Then again, he never expected to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts, either. And then he meets Ella, a quirky new friend with a taste for adventure...
Together, Jon and Ella must work to uncover the secrets of a centuries-old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits, their bloodless faces set on revenge. So when Jon summons the ghost of the late knight Longspee for his protection, there's just one question: Can Longspee truly be trusted ? (reproduced from Cornelia Funke wikia website)
The cast includes tenor David Fischer (Jon Whitcroft), soprano Marie Heeschen (Ella Littlejohn), soprano Susanne Blattert (Zelda Littlejohn / Ela Longspee), baritone Giorgos Kanaris (William Longspee), baritone Fabio Lesuisse (Angus), tenor Julian Kokott (Aleister Jindrich) and and countertenor Bernhardt Landauer (Lord Stourton). Daniel Johannes Mayr conducts the Beethoven Orchester Bonn and the Youth Choir of the Theater Bonn. Erik Petersen directs.

The required orchestra is the following (according to the Boosey & Hawkes website) :

- 2 flutes (I. doubling alto flute), piccolo, 2 oboes (II. doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (I. doubling alto saxophone, II. doubling bass clarinet), 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 bass trombone ;
- timpani, percussions (4 players) ;
- harp, piano (also celesta and electronic keyboard), synthesizer / sampler ;
- strings (10.8.6.4.3) ;
- tape ;
- on stage : electric guitar (optional).

The performance should last about 85 minutes. This new opera is a coproduction with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg and the Theater Dortmund.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Today : world première of Xavier Dayer's 'Alzheim' in Bern


Today, the Konzert Theater Bern presents the world première of Xavier Dayer's Alzheim, a musical theatre piece in 50 scenes, with a libretto by Jürgen Berger based on interviews with patients of Baan Kamlangchay, a home for demented patients from German-speaking countries in Faham, near Chiang Mai, Thailand.


It is Dayer's 6th opera, after Le Marin (Geneva, 1999), Les Aveugles (Saint-Denis, 2006) and Contes de la lune vague après la pluie (Rouen, 2015).
The work gives an insight into the world of patients and guests, telling stories about destinies of relatives. Here, authenticity becomes fiction. (freely adapted from the Theater Bern website).
The cast includes soprano Marielle Murphy (Pflegerin), soprano Evgenia Grekova (Margret), mezzo soprano Claude Eichenberg (Magda) and baritone Robin Adams (Buddha). Jochem Hochstenbach conducts the Berner Symphonieorchester. Ludger Engels directs.

The required orchestra is the following :

- 1 flute (doubling piccolo and bass flute), 1 oboe (doubling English horn), 1 clarinet (doubling bass clarinet) ;
- 1 horn, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone ;
- 1 percussionist, 1 piano ;
- String quintet.

The performance takes place at Vidmar 1 and should last about 85 minutes.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Today : world première of 'The House Without A Christmas Tree' by Ricky Ian Gordon in Houston (TX)


Today, the Houston Grand Opera presents the world première of The House Without A Christmas Tree, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek based on the original story by Gail Rock.


It is the composer's fifth opera after The Grapes of Wrath (Minneapolis, February 10, 2007), Morning Star (Cincinnati, June 2013), A Coffin in Egypt (Houston, March 14, 2014) and 27 (St. Louis, June 14, 2014).
Addie Mills is smart and energetic, just like the mother she never knew. Addie has no idea why her father resents the holidays so intensely, refusing even to allow a Christmas tree in the house. But when she brings home a tree she won in a school contest, it paves the way for a miracle of sorts — her father’s broken soul is transformed. (reproduced from the Houston Grand Opera website)
The cast includes soprano Lauren Snouffer (Addie Mills), baritone Daniel Belcher (James Addison Mills III 'Dad'), soprano Patricia Schuman (Grandma Mills), soprano Heidi Stober (Miss Thompson / Helen Mills / Adelaide Mills), mezzo soprano Megan Mikailovna Samarin (Carla Mae), soprano Elisabeth Leone (Gloria Cott) and tenor Maximilian Macias (Billy Wild). Bradley Moore conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Juvenile Chorus. James Robinson directs.

The performance should last about 80 minutes. The venue is the Resilience Theater, in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

4 new recent program books in my collection


I have recently acquired 4 new program books for contemporary operas :

- Arnulf Herrmann, Der Mieter, Frankfurt, November 12, 2017 ;
- Krzysztof Knittel, The Last Judgement, Gdansk, November 9, 2017 ;
- Nico Muhly, Marnie, London (ENO), November 18, 2017 ;
- Salvatore Sciarrino, Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo, Milano (Teatro alla Scala), November 14, 2017.




The first one is a 96 pages book. It contains :

- crew for the production ;
- synopsis of the opera ;
- Das Klopfen der Nachbarn und das zerbrechende Glas, interview of composer Arnulf Herrmann and librettist Händl Klaus by dramatugist Zsolt Horpacsy ;
- Markus Böggemann : Energien, erfahrbar gemarcht (über Arnulf Herrmann) ;
- Kazushi Ono : Ein Gefühl des Schwankens (Anmerkungen zur Musik von Der Mieter) ;
- Alles Falle, interview of director Johannes Erath and set designer Kaspar Glarner by dramaturgist Zsolt Horpacsy ;
- Anja Petersen : Wie im Schwindel ;
- Memoiren eines alten Arschlochs, Portrait von Roland Topor ;
- Alexander Garcia Düttmann : Verwandlung, Gedanken zu Roland Topors Roman Le Locataire chimérique ;
- Georg Hensel : Ein Sonntagsmaler des Grauens ;
- 16 pages of color photos of the production ;
- Händl Klaus : Hausmitteilung, Schutzdichtung für Muriel ;
- the complete libretto.

The programme book is entirely in German. At the end of it, there is a 3 pages synopsis in English. There is a separate 6 pages flyer with the complete cast and crew and a separate 12 pages booklet with biographies of the artists with black and white headshots.

The second one is a 24 pages booklet. It contains :

- complete cast and crew :
- a short article by composer Krzysztof Knittel ;
- biographies of artists with black and white headshots ;
- synopsis ;
- an article on Hans Memling's painting The Last Judgement, by Alicja Andrzejewska-Zajac and Magdalena Podgorzak.

It is entirely in Polish.

The third one is a 62 pages book. It contains :

- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- Nico Muhly : Writing 'Marnie' ;
 - a short excerpt of Winston Graham's original novel Marnie ;
- Paul Cremo ; Exploring 'Marnie' ;
- Winston Graham on 'Marnie', excerpt of Graham's Memoirs of a Private Man ;
- Paul Griffiths : Singing by Other Means : An Introduction to Nico Muhly's Music ;
- biographies of cast and crew, with black and white headshots. 

The fourth and last one is a 156 pages book. It contains :

- La scena, il dramma, il mito, l'oblio ;
- Organico strumentale (orchestral setting) ;
- complete libretto only in Italian ;
- synopsis in Italian by Cesare Fertonani, with translations in French, English, German, Japanese and
Russian ;
- Cesare Fertonani : Salvatore Sciarrino ;
- Cesare Fertonani : L'opera in breve ;
- Gianluigi Mattietti : La musica ;
- Enzo Restagno : Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo ;
- Andrea De Carlo : Stradella, o dell'atemporalità ;
- Raffaele Mellace : Alessandro Stradella ;
- Anna Paniale : Il teatro nel teatro - Alcune riflessioni di Jürgen Flimm ;
- Luca Chierici : Salvatore Sciarrino alla Scala dal 1969 al 2014 (with 'Cronologia') ;
- biographies of the artists with headshots.

With the exception of the translations of the synopsis, the book is entirely in Italian.

I now have 505 programme books for contemporary operas. All covers have been scanned and uploaded to this flickr folder.