Monthly Archives: March 2013

First Solaris, then Opera

“SOLARIS”, a work by  Icelandic composer  and conductor Daníel Bjarnason (who will share his operatic visions at Operastorming #1) and the australian artist Ben Frost (who has lived for extensive periods in Iceland) will be performed at the Adelaide Festival in Australia  tonight.

DanielBjarnason1bySagaSig

“Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Krakow writer Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris, Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason were commissioned by Unsound to write this work for strings, percussion, prepared piano, guitars and electronics – a narrative of sound that is an exploration of an interior cosmos. The performance features members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and film manipulations by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson, drawing on moments from the Tarkovsky film adaptation, to create a visual parallel to the music composition process.” (from the Unsound webpage)

The creative partnership of Daníel and Ben has yielded some exciting results (The Icelandic Music Award for best film score among other things), but now Daníel and Ben are both preparing individual  operatic works. Daníel is working on a commission for the Icelandic Opera and international co-producers (we shall learn more on April 18th). Ben Frost will compose and direct  a new opera  set to premiere this year, an adaptation of Ian Bank’s cult novel The Wasp Factory . The work is commissioned by the Bregenz Festival’s Art of our Times programme, and  co-produced with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and others.

These guys are bound to work up a storm in the opera world!

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(Photo: Saga Sig)

 

 

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Kerstin Perski Knows Why Writing a Decent Libretto is Notoriously Difficult

Kerstin PerskiOne of the experienced opera creators who will be with us at Operastroming #1 is the dramatist, librettist and author Kerstin Perski .  She has in the last fifteen years worked extensively with music drama and written several opera-libretti. Her most notable operatic works to date are librettos for  Hans Gefors’s “Cry wolf” (a german version was premiered in Lübeck in 2002 under the name “Der Wolf kommt”), Paula af Malmborg Ward’s “Operation Love” and “The scar” (The latter, based freely on the story ”The heart of a dog” by Michail Bulgakov), Karin Rehnqvist’s “The beauty school – a horror opera from the age of 10” , which has been staged in Scandinavia and by several German houses (Mannheim opera in 2003, Braunschweig in 2005, Hannover 2012). In 2007,  the Jyske Opera’s production of “Confessions”  (composer: Niels Marthinsen/ librettist: Kerstin Perski), received the prestigious Danish Reumert price for opera of the year. Among Karin Perski’s upcoming work is the libretto for “Wave of fire”, a new opera by  composer Karin Rehnqvist, commissioned by the Royal Opera in Stockholm,   a libretto based on Alfred Hitchcock’s  classic 1946 film Notorious!”, for composer  Hans Gefors (the opera will have its world premiere at the Gothenburg opera in 2015), as well as a libretto for the Vadstena Academy with the working title “The Son of Heaven”.

Kerstin has a lot on her mind when it comes to libretto writing, collaborations with composers and the intricacies of the creative process. We look especially forward to her contribution on April 18th!

Opera on!

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The Essence of a Living Art Form

Operasje Per Boye HansenPer Boye Hansen, artistic director of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, is a force to be reckoned with.  Not only  does he have great ambitions to consolidate the Norwegian Opera’s position as a bright star in the galaxy of world class opera, he is also giving Nordic opera a welcome vitamin boost by putting greater focus on new work. Starting with the 2014 premiere of a new opera based on the material of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt by Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere (who will also be with us at Operastorming #1) the Norwegian National Opera will present a new work every season. And to get the opera innovation juices flowing even further, he and Michael Boder (another Operastorming key contributor)  have a Nordic Biennale for new work in the pipeline.

When asked in an interview last year about the importance of new repertoire, this is one of the things he had to say: “It is indeed very important to develop new repertoire. This is the essence of a living art form”. At Operastorming #1 he will dig deeper into this notion and share his insights on an array of relevant topics, including the creative process and the frameworks needed to support it.

Opera on!

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What On Earth is Throat IV?  

Carl Unander-Scharin

Carl Unander-Scharin

In collaboration with his choreographer wife  Åsa, composer and tenor Carl Unander-Scharin is developing the new work SING THE BODY ELECTRIC!  at the University College of Opera in Stockholm. The work is an embodied opera, a corporatorio, where music, voice, body, movement and interaction concur in the performance. The  libretto is based on texts from Albert Einstein’s “The World as I See It, Walt Whitman’s “I Sing The Body Electric!” and poems by William Blake. Key themes being democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect and freedom.

At Operastorming #1, Carl will allow us a glimpse into his magical high-tech sound world and introduce us to emerging technologies, developed for and through operatic work, namely, Throat IV, Throat for iPhone, The Virtual Viola da Gamba, The Viewsonic, and Contortionsts ear.

Electrifying stuff to say the least!

For more information on Carl Unander-Scharin and his work check out his webpage electronic opera.

Here an interesting television coverage of a previous project, Opera Mecatronica, in Swedish.

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