After 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.