Monthly Archives: February 2013

Revolution in Music Through Theatre

boderIn a year 2000 interview with the Musikverein Monatszeitung, the conductor Michael Boder, a great champion of new music,  discusses the state of contemporary opera and voices concerns over the overemphasis on historical praxis and that too much obsessing with the past might divert attention from new developments.

When asked if this extreme interest in the old isn’t just a manifestation of the shortcomings of new music and the hermetic isolated position it has created for itself, Boder answers that one of the major problems, in his view, is that when the Viennese School (Wiener Schule) emerged, a gradual disconnection from the theatre took place. This was an actual problem because it was in fact “the theatre that had for hundreds of years served as the motor of many musical innovations”. Boder then prompts us to think about Gluck, Mozart and Wagner, and observe the continuous line that clearly points to the certain fact that “more than half of the true revolutions in music happened in the realm of the theatre”. Boder further points out that “the very moment when they disconnected from the theatre and withdrew themselves to small sophisticated circles, they also managed to alienate the audience to some degree. And to this day we struggle to overcome this problem”.

In the interview Boder further emphasizes the importance of new music theatre works (neuen Musiktheaterwerken) finding their way to the audience, the fact that “the big opera houses just don’t produce enough new stuff” and points out the simple statistic of repertoire development: “When 80, 90, years ago, ten premieres of new work came out in a year, one work remained (in the repertoire). But when you just produce one new work a year, it can easily happen that this one work does not survive (in the repertoire)”

For those of you who want to read this interesting interview here is the full version (in german).

We look forward to taking up these themes in a Nordic context with Michael Boder at Operastorming #1, and hear what he thinks about the developments that have taken place in the little over a decade that has passed since this interview.

Michael Boder is as of the season 2012/2013 the Principal Conductor and  Artistic advisor of the Royal Danish Theatre and Orchestra.

Michael Boders full biography at Intermusica.

(Fragments translated by A.Danielsen)

(Photo:  Intermusica/Alexander Vasiljev)

A.D.

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Figuring Out Nordic Opera

Within a time span ranging from August 2007 until June 2013 we have 773 productions, in 34 cities in the Nordic countries. Out of the 773 productions 38 are world premieres of new operas. Only 12 are produced by the major national opera companies, and then rarely on the main stage.

Of course we have to take into account that the economic crisis of 2008 put a major dent in the budgets of many of the opera houses, but still the development has not deviated dramatically from that of the previous decade.

Not surprisingly, the Nordic composer whose work is most frequently performed worldwide is Kaija Saariaho. Looking at production frequency Saariaho ranks no. 1 among female composers,  she is no. 15 on the list of living composers and comes in at place 96 on the current top 100 list of opera composers, dead or alive. (statistics source: Operabase).

A new opera by Saariaho is scheduled to premiere at ROH Covent Garden in 2020, part of something one can surely call a new opera extravaganza by today’s standards, as four new operas will premiere at Covent Garden in 2020, a culminating point of Tony Pappano and Kasper Holtens strong emphasis on the development of new work over the coming years.

Here a very interesting interview with Saariaho and images from the 2010 Vlaamse Opera production of  L´Amour de loin (Love from Afar). Again presented at the Canadian Opera in 2012.

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Jüri Reinveres Multifaceted Meanings at Operastorming #1

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The Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere had great success with his first opera PURGE (after Sofi Oksanens award winning novel) at the Helsinki Opera last year. Now he is tackling the material of Ibsens Peer Gynt, scheduled to premiere at the Norwegian national Opera & Ballet in 2014.

Jüri Reinvere will be sharing his insights with us at Operastorming #1 

Sofi Oksanen and Gerhard Lock describe Jüri Reinvere (full article):

“Typically for Reinvere meanings are multifaceted, he moves beyond genre limitations, and recognizes the natural transition from music to poetry. In music he uses materials ranging from traditional instruments to sounds of nature and accompanying sounds of interpretation—and among the latter, most particularly, breathing—or phenomena that relate to sound environments like the echo in a room. Reinvere’s ease with crossing boundaries comes also from his having lived in societies with contrasting lifestyles and belief systems: the atheistic Soviet world replaced by Catholic Poland and followed by Lutheran Finland. Reinvere also lived for an extended period in Stockholm. In 2005, he established his permanent home in Berlin.”

(Photographer: Aaron Nace)

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Icelandic Music Awards: Composer of the Year at Operastorming #1

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Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason who will be one of the key contributors at Operastorming #1 took home the prize for Composer of the Year at the Icleandic Music Awards on February 20th. He received the prize for his 2012 compositions “The Isle Is Full Of Noises” and “Over Light Earth”.

Daníel, along with Ben Frost also won the best music category at the Icelandic Film and TV Awards on February 16th for the score to the film’Djúpið” (‘The Deep’), directed by Baltasar Kormákur.

Daníels upcoming engagements include a new commission for L.A. Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

We look forward to Daníels operatic work!

Photo: SagaSig

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Save the date! – April 18th 2013

Notera datumet 18 april i er kalender. Hela dagen ägnas åt Operastorming i Stockholm. I Norden har alla huvudstäder utom Stockholm byggt ett nytt operahus det senaste decenniet. Men vad ska vi spela för verk i husen?

Operastorming är ett symposium för dig som skapar eller vill skapa framtidens opera – komponister, librettister, producenter, chefer, regissörer, scenografer, kostymörer, maskörer, kommunikatörer, sångare, musiker med flera.

And in English…

Save the date – 18th of April! A whole day (and evening) devoted to Operastorming.

In the last two decades we have seen the rise of  great new opera houses, monuments of Nordic architecture and innovation – but where are the continuous innovative developments in the Nordic operatic repertoire? What do we want to see on these magnificent Nordic stages in the future? Maybe more than just the sporadic appearance  of new work?

Operastorming is a symposium for all of us who create or want to create opera today and tomorrow  – composers, libretto writers, producers, CEOs, directors, conductors, set-designers, costume-designers, marketers, singers, musicians and others.

On this blog we will share our thoughts on New Nordic Opera and welcome yours!

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