Archive for the Opera category

Premiere of the opera-oratorio Sky Disc, by Ramon Humet and Rebecca Simpson

Posted by Soledad Sánchez Bueno on September 2, 2013  |  2 Comments

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution: DbachmannAfter three years involving extensive research and intense work, the creative duo Rebecca Simpson (idea and libretto) and Ramon Humet (music) present their opera-oratorio Sky Disc (Himmelsscheibe / Disc del cel).

The first performance of Sky Disc will take place on 2nd October 2013, at Bühnen Halle Oper (Halle, Germany). Andreas Henning is musical director, G.H. Seebach is the stage director, costumes are by Ragna Heiny, with set-design by Hartmut Schörghofer and video by Anke Tornow. André Meyer is the dramaturg, Jens Petereit the choirmaster, and the soloists are Gerd Vogel (Fierket), Sandra Maxheimer (Guueren), Maria Petrasovska (Estria), Robert Sellier (Pyrpi) and Hiltrud Kuhlmann (Tamar), Ulrich Burdack (Boatman), Ki-Hyun Park (Priest), Julia Preußler (Boy) Kaori Sekigawa (Solo voice).  Rehearsals began at the end of June and, after the summer break, pick up again in September; librettist and composer will be in Halle to work directly with the production team.

Rebecca Simpson’s libretto uses the fact that, at the end of the Early Bronze Age of central and northern Europe, remarkable cultures were connected by trade and travel and elite bronze workers were the technology experts of the time.  The Nebra Sky-disc, unearthed in 1999 in Germany, is the world’s earliest known representation of the night sky. It encoded information that enabled the alignment of the solar and lunar calendars, allowing more effective agriculture. The libretto of the opera-oratorio Sky Disc contemplates the archeological object from today’s perspective in the choral sections, while the opera’s story takes place on a single day in the region where the Nebra Sky-disc was discovered: in the Bronze Age village where it belongs, on a river by night, and on the Mittelberg hill-top.

Ramon Humet’s music develops on two complementary performance levels, creating a musical form of complex evolution. On one hand there is the opera story with its dramatic action revolving around the archeological object, with a lively tempo on a human scale and precise and specific instrumentation. On the other hand, there is the oratorio with its choral sections comprising  reflections related to the object and the action, with a tempo that is spacious and fluid.

Sky Disc is a large-scale work, lasting 1 hour and 50 minutes, with 9 vocal soloists, a mixed choir (SATB) and symphonic orchestra. The opera-oratorio will be given sic performances: 2nd October, 6th October, 18th October, 23rd October, 9th and 24th November 2013, as part of the Bühnen Halle theatre’s Autumn-Winter season.  The theatre`s general programme can be downloaded SkyDisc-Dossier. The cast list and artistic credits, together with a synopsis and further explanation of the ideas behind the work, can be downloaded here.

“Pepita Jiménez” on the Teatros del Canal

Posted by Soledad Sánchez Bueno on May 14, 2013  |  1 Comment

Finally, we will have the chance to assist to the production of Pepita Jiménez, in Madrid, that was released on October of 2012 in the Teatro Argentino de la Plata. On the one hand, this production is the result of a collaboration between the Teatros del Canal and the Teatro Argentino de la Plata, and on the other hand, it represents the crystallizing of the collaboration with Tritó, which keeps giving fruitful results.

The plot of the work, based on a novel by Juan Valera, has been adapted by Francis Money-Coutts and turned into music by Isaac Albéniz. The first release of this piece was placed in 1895, and until now it has remained out of the stages. The new publication of the critical edition completed by Borja Mariño, made this production -staged by Calixto Bieito- possible to perform.

Pepita Jiménez will be presented in four exclusive functions on the stage of the Sala Roja, during the days 19th, 21st, 23rd and 25th of May.

Conductor: José Ramón Encinar

Stage director: Calixto Bieito

Scenographic design: Rebecca Ringst

Costume design: Ingo Krügler

Playwright: Bettina Auer

Illumination design: Carlos Márquez / Miguel A. Camacho

Choir conductor: Pedro Texeira

Children’s choir conductor: Ana González

Scenographic design’s assistent: Zosia Dowjat

Repeater pianist: Javier Martínez

Stage manager: Pedro Tojar / Nieves Garcimartín

Tailoring: Isabel López/ Natalia Cieza

Props: Ana María Serpa / Gonzalo R. Checa

Characterization: Joel Escaño

Subtitles: 36 caracteres

Production director: Leticia Martín

Scenographic production executed in the ateliers of the Teatro Argentino de la Plata

Ramon Carnicer, Rossini and the guitar

Posted by Soledad Sánchez Bueno on March 4, 2013  |  Leave a comment

Some months ago we published a volume that includes four versions for guitar of the overture that Ramon Carnicer (1789-1855) created for the opera of Rossini, Il barbiere di Siviglia.

In the prologue of the edition, thoroughly written by Josep Dolcet and Josep Maria Mangado, alluded the transcendence the scenic pieces of Ramon Carnicer had. Starting his education as a clerical musician, he started composing arrangements and editions of some scores he conducted. As expected, the audience wanted new pieces of music.

Motivated by this demand and his own capacity to experience, Carnicer composed a new overture for Il barbiere di Siviglia -very known by the audience- that resulted, even for the original composer, Rossini, better than the real overture.

The popularity some opera pieces achieved during the 19th century in Europe, made place to new versions and adaptations of the famous fragments for different instruments, such as the guitar, the piano or the little ensembles. Apparently, there exist some adaptations for guitar of Carnicer’s overture.

In this edition made by Tritó, there are included a version from 2007 by Josep María Mangado and three more facsimile editions from 19th century. The first one -version by Pelegrí- was originally published in Barcelona, from 1819. The second version, anonymous, was published in Madrid, by Manuel Carrafa’s press. The last one, by Tomás Damaz, was also published in Madrid, the 1872 by Antonio Romero.

Thanks to the intensive musicological work developed around these editions, today we have this volume that will allow guitarists, researchers and curious to compare and choose the adaptation that fits better with their interests. Our editorial team wishes to share with you, our followers, the enthusiasm with which we carried this edition, and hopes to arouse your interest.

Pepita Jiménez in Argentina

Posted by Soledad Sánchez Bueno on October 11, 2012  |  5 Comments

Two versions of the opera Pepita Jiménez (Isaac Albéniz) are included in TRITÓ’s catalogue . The original English libretto was written by Francis Money-Coutts which and was based on a novel by Juan Valera.

In our first edition, the editor, José de Eusebio, worked with the third version from 1904 . The second version was edited by Borja Mariño who worked with the second version from 1896 (premiered in Prague).

On next October 28 th, the Teatro Argentino de la Plata will host three premieres: the American premiere of Pepita Jiménez, the world premiere of our second edition and the first performance in Argentina of a staging by Calixto Bieito.

The musical conductor will be Manuel Coves and the cast is formed by Nicola Beller Carbone conform, Enrique Ferrer, Adriana Mastrángelo, Victor Torres, Jose Antonio Garcia, Sebastian Angulegui, Francisco and Juan Pablo Labourdette Bugallo with the Coro y orquesta estables del Teatro Argentino.

The Argentinian premiere of Pepita Jiménez Argentina is possible thanks to the collaboration of Teatros del Canal (Madrid) and the Teatro Argentino de la Plata.

We look forward to receive good news from the Argentinian premiere of one of the most unknown and best scenycal works by Albeniz.

“Zigor” and “Fuegos” conducted by Pierre-André Valade

Posted by Soledad Sánchez Bueno on October 10, 2012  |  Leave a comment

The Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, under the batom of Pierre-André Valade, one of the most important  worldwide specialists in modern and contemporary repertoire, will offer a special concert on Thursday October 11 at 8 pm at the Teatro Campos Elíseos de Bilbao.
The program includes the premiere of Fuegos in Euskadi by  Gabriel Erkoreka which received the Queen Sofia Prize for Composition in 2008 and the premiere of the Symphonic Fragments of Zigor, Escudero Francisco Opera.
There will be also performed, El silencio de las piedras by Jesús Echevarría and Cobermòrum de J. Vicente Egea.
It is possible to purchase tickets at the website of the theater.

New operas, old problems, by Javier Pérez Senz

Posted by Javier Pérez Senz on June 15, 2011  |  1 Comment

Appearances are deceptive. After the world premiere of Jo, Dalí, an opera by the octogenarian and fortunately still busy Catalan composer Xavier Benguerel (Barcelona, 1931), with a libretto by Jaime Salom, held on 8 June at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, with stage production by Xavier Albertí and music direction by Miquel Ortega, now it is the turn of the Spanish premiere, on 25 June, of LByron, Un estiu sense estiu (A year without a summer), at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, an opera by another, much younger Catalan composer, Agustí Charles (Manresa, 1960), with a libretto by Marc Rosich. The world premiere took place last March in Darmstadt at the Staatstheather, co-producer of the production that will be staged at the temple of opera in the Ramblas, with the stage and musical direction by Alfonso Romero Mora and Martin Lukas Meister, respectively.

At first glance, two premieres in succession suggest that contemporary Catalan opera composition is in a particularly sweet moment. But this is not the case.

Benguerel’s work has been premiered ten years after the date of its composition, so the closeness to the premiere of Charles’s work is purely coincidental. In fact, the list of composers who are waiting to premiere works in Spanish opera houses is growing steadily longer because, unless things change, premieres will continue to take place in dribs and drabs.

The list of composers who are waiting to premiere works in Spanish opera houses is growing steadily longer because, unless things change, premieres will continue to take place in dribs and drabs.

No matter how much they say that opera is in fashion, what is actually in fashion are the same old titles, the so-called great repertoire, as if the masterpieces of the twentieth century – in a fascinating range of styles that includes, citing only the most representative, Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten, Leo Janacek, Dmitri Shostakovich, Bela Bartok, Sergei Prokofiev, Olivier Messiaen and Ligeti Györg – did not also constitute a large repertoire.

Like it or not, opera is still alive. With 500 years of tradition, and hundreds of authors around the world still producing operas. Composers such as Hans Werner Henze, Helmuth Lacheman, Tan Dun, Philippe Boesmans, George Benjamin, Olga Neuwirth, Harrison Birtwistle, and a long list of others that can include, without any reservations, Spanish musicians such as Cristóbal Halffter, José María Sánchez-Verdú, Enric Palomar and Hèctor Parra.

I only know of two ways of finishing with contemporary opera. One is, of course, by not programming it, a politically incorrect option, but cherished by this plague of political managers who only talk about culture with a calculator in the hand. And they’re not bothered: as today’s opera is not in favour with the public, it is unlikely that there will a demonstration demanding more premieres.

The other way to settle the matter, much more perverse, is to do the bare minimum: badly produce new works in unsuitable venues,. The argument is always the same: a lack of resources, poor attendances, they don’t sell a thing and the halls are almost empty. So, in the end they hire mediocre, run-of-the-mill orchestras, voices and conductors. Bad news, because there’s nothing that does more damage to a new score that a bad premiere: it kills dead any possibility of further shows.

To alleviate these shortcomings, small and medium-scale productions were invented, an initiative that can only give good results when the emphasis is really placed on quality performances. New opera must be presented on the same level as the old titles in the repertoire. If not, we’d better wait in silence for better times to come.

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Filed under: Opera, opinión

The Magic Opal by Isaac Albéniz

Posted by Arnau Farré on April 14, 2011  |  2 Comments

The Magic Opal by Isaac Albéniz

Josep Pla was of the opinion that music should be systematically understandable: “if necessary, to the point of sheer vulgarity, mud and bricks and that’s it.” The operetta genre lends itself more freely to this description than others, or to put it in a more pedantic and euphemistic way, this excess of comprehensibility.

Using an eccentric libretto that situates the action on the coast of Greece (a circumstance that determines the names of some characters but has no influence on the music, unless it’s the abundance of Phrygian cadences) Isaac Albéniz complies effectively with the customs of Victorian operetta.

Now, in a magnificent edition by Borja Mariño, this work is newly available and we have the opportunity to approach it with a full and thorough knowledge of the facts. Forget any condescension towards the genre, though: it is more than likely that “The Magic Opal” has moments of ambivalent simplicity in store for us, unbearable and delicious at the same time.

Listen to an excerpt from The Magic Opal >

Hypermusic Prologue at the Gran Teatro del Liceu

Posted by Leticia Martin on November 23, 2009  |  1 Comment

Hypermusic Prologue is, for the moment, Hèctor Parra’s most ambitious project, one of the great achievements of European contemporary music in this century. The opera libretto was written by the prestigious theoretical physicist Lisa Randall and has been published by Tritó in a clear show of support for this work by Parra and the new contemporary music.

It is new style of opera, a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. In this work the traditional form of opera is explored to generate a form of dramatic expression suited to the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms with music and art.

Hypermusic Prologue, for soprano, baritone, ten instruments and electronics, was composed in 2008 and 2009. It was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), the Centre Pompidou, and the Department of Culture of the Catalan Government (Generalitat). It was premiered in Paris on 14 June 2009 as part of the programming of the Festival Agora.

Further information and tickets.

Premiere of Hypermusic Prologue, by Hèctor Parra

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 11, 2009  |  Leave a comment

Sunday 14 June saw the premiere of “Hypermusic Prologue, a projective opera in seven planes” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, a work by the composer Hèctor Parra with a libretto by the well-known professor of theoretical physics from Harvard University, Lisa Randall.

It is new style of opera, a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. In this work the traditional form of opera is explored to generate a form of dramatic expression suited to the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms with music and art.

Hypermusic Prologue was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), the Centre Pompidou itself, and the Department of Culture of the Catalan Government.

The same production will be presented at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona on 27 and 28 de November.

Information about its premiere on the Catalan Television…

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Hèctor Parra in the newspaper El País

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 10, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The journalist Javier Pérez Senz has interviewed Hèctor Parra in the Babelia section of El País (6 June). The composer discussed his projective opera “Hypermusic Prologue“, his complex creative process, and his relationship with the American theoretical physicist Lisa Randall. He also mentioned how proud he feels to have been able to work on such a project with the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

“What I aim for as a creator is to move the listeners, stir their spirits and open up their imaginations to new sound energies in the awareness that, in a nutshell, composing is searching for oneself”.

A face-to-face encounter with the composer that preluded the première, which took place on 14 June at the Centre Pompidou in the French capital.

Link to the interview.

Opera 2.0 (2nd part)

Posted by Marcel Soleda on June 2, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The second part of the preparations for the premiere of Hypermusic Prologue, a new type of opera. This video focuses on the set design and the scenery, by the set designer Paul Desveaux and the artist Matthew Ritchie.

Opera 2.0 (1st part)

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 28, 2009  |  Leave a comment

Hypermusic Prologue, the opera by Hèctor Parra with a libretto by Lisa Randall, will be premiered in Paris on 14 June at the Centre Pompidou. During the two weeks leading up to this premiere we have been able to take a closer look at the Ensemble Intercontemporain’s work on its development and production, through the rehearsals and other videos with previous information.

Thanks to Youtube we can personally experience the birth of an opera in the 21st century.

Hypermusic Prologue and Hèctor Parra in Accents

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 6, 2009  |  Leave a comment

Issue no. 38 of the review Accents published by the Ensemble Intercontemporain is dedicated to Hèctor Parra’s Hypermusic Prologue.

Hypermusic Prologue is a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. It explores the traditional opera form in order to generate a type of dramatic expression for the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms in music and art.

The main character, a composer and scientist, experiences deep tension between his “earthly love” and his “passion for knowledge”. This tension is built up dramatically through the contradictions between his life with his lover, limited in space and time, and his conviction that there is a much bigger world waiting to be explored.

This opera represents an opportunity to foster the search for more expressive forms for the drama and the musical possibilities. Its object is to find aesthetic structural connections through sound between that most abstract of the arts – music – and the highest concepts of theoretical physics, as researched by Lisa Randall and others. We hope the result will be a novel and fascinating creative experience.

The review is free and can be downloaded here.

El Gato con Botas (Puss in Boots), reduction for piano

Posted by Leticia Martin on April 24, 2009  |  Leave a comment

El gato con Botas, an opera by Xavier Montsalvatge with a libretto by Nestor Luján based on the story by C. Perrault, has been newly published as a reduced version for piano and voice.

This opera, composed by the Catalan composer in 1948, is one of the liveliest examples of contemporary Spanish opera and has been staged on several occasions – the latest was a co-production by the Teatro Real and the Liceu – both in its original version and as the adaptation made in 1996 by Albert Guinovart for chamber ensemble.

Puss in Boots (El gato con botas) by Xavier Montsalvatge returns to Oviedo

Posted by Leticia Martin on January 5, 2009  |  4 Comments

Puss in Boots by Xavier Montsalvatge returns to the Teatro Philharmonic de Oviedo on the 9 and 10 January in a production realised in 2005 by the Teatro Real de Madrid and co-produced by the Gran Teatro del Liceu, the Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera and the Asociación Asturiana de Amigos de la Ópera. On this occasion it is the version for small orchestra which the composer Albert Guinovart was commissioned to arrange by Tritó Ediciones.

Emilio Sagi’s staging counts on costumes and a set design by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, which give special colour and impact to the story, winning the hearts of both children and adults. Vicente Alberola is the music director and the main roles will be played by Raquel Lojendio (the Cat), David Menéndez (the Miller), María Luz Martínez (the Princess), Isidro Anaya (the King) and Miguel Angel Zapater (the Ogre).

This score by Xavier Montsalvatge presents the traditional tale by Perrault in the personal style and with the surprising musicality that always characterises this composer’s works.

A talk with Lisa Randall

Posted by Marcel Soleda on December 15, 2008  |  Leave a comment

Yesterday published in The Boston Globe, an interview with Lisa Randall about her present project: the opera Hypermusic Prologue, by Hèctor Parra.

Read the whole interview…

Hèctor Parra and Lisa Randall: Hypermusic Prologue

Posted by Leticia Martin on December 9, 2008  |  2 Comments

At beginnings of 2008 the DLD (Digital, Live, Design) Conference in Munich provided a platform for the music of composer Hèctor Parra. DLD is one of the world’s leading showcases for digital design and interactions between art, science and technology, with the presence of many of the top names in this new network of creativity.

Hèctor Parra, the only Spaniard present at the conference, appeared with the artist Matthew Ritchie, the art patron and impresario Francesca von Habsburg and the theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, who is collaborating with Mr Parra on a chamber opera project entitled Hypermusic Prologue.

Check the video highlights after the jump…

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Rueda opera premieres at the Venice Biennalle

Posted by Marcel Soleda on September 30, 2005  |  1 Comment

This 2 and 3 October mark the premiere of a fragment from the opera Orfeo by Jesús Rueda. This work, is commisioned by The Biennalle and the Madrid composer’s first incursion into the genre, will be performed in it entirety in 2007 on the 400th anniversary of what is considered to the first great opera in the history of music, La favola d’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi. Rueda confesses his concern for achieving “an introspective approach to the vocal line, to the singing, to the melody”.

The premiere takes place at the 49th Contemporary Music Festival, part of the Venice Biennalle. The performers include: Antoni Comas, Orfeo; Pilar Jurado, Euridice; Julián Elvira, flutes; with the Community of Madrid Orchestra and Choir conducted by Beat Ferrer. Rueda continues the exploration of the possibilities of the human voice that he started with El viaje múltiple.

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