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Tagged with 'Munich'

Work of the Week – Modest Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov

Two productions of Modest Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov will open the year 2024: on 14 January 2024, the Bavarian State Opera will present the revival of its successful production at the Munich National Theatre. The production by Calixto Bieito will be under the musical direction of Dima Slobodeniouk. On 28 January 2024, the National Theatre Mannheim will stage a new production of the piece at the Theater im Pfalzbau in Ludwigshafen. The director here is Lorenzo Fioroni, with Roberto Rizzi Brignoli conducting. Both productions use the historical-critical performance material published by Verlagsgruppe Hermann.

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Work of the Week – György Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre

The anti-anti-opera: Le Grand Macabre by György Ligeti will celebrate its premiere at the Frankfurt Opera on November 5, 2023. Vasily Barhatov will direct the production at the "Opera House of the Year", which has just been named in the music critics' survey of Opernwelt magazine. The new general music director Thomas Guggeis will be conducting in the pit, while the "Opera Choir of the Year" will perform on stage, along with many solos. This is the first of four major productions of the work in the current season, which celebrates the 100th birthday of Ligeti, who was born in 1923. At Vienna, the State Opera is opening the new production by director Jan Lauwers on November 11, with Pablo Heras-Casado conducting.

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Work of the Week – Wolfgang-Andreas Schultz: Achill unter den Mädchen

The question is not “to be or not to be”, but “who would you like to be”? In his opera, Achill unter den Mädchen, Wolfgang-Andreas Schultz raises questions about gender identity and role models. On 17 March 2023, The Munich Radio Orchestra, under the direction of Oliver Tardy, will take on the first night of this production by Franziska Severin featuring soloists from the August Everding Theatre Academy at Munich’s Prinzregententheater.

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World Premiere of an early Violin Concerto by Hans Werner Henze

On 4 February 2021, 21:05 GMT Konzertmusik for violin and small chamber orchestra by Hans Werner Henze will receive it's world premiere. After several attempts to perform the work had to be cancelled in 2020, the Bavarian Radio will broadcast a studio recording with Peter Tilling and the Ensemble risonanze erranti. This will officially mark the world premiere of the composition.

Konzertmusik is the earliest work composed by Hans Werner Henze and published by Schott: the concerto for violin and small chamber orchestra, written when he was only 17. It was not until the end of World War II that he was able to devote himself intensively to composition: a short time later, he was signed by Schott. The composition reveals its inspiration from Paul Hindemith. In its chamber music structure, a series of instruments from the ensemble including flute, trumpet and the first player of violin I repeatedly take on small solo passages and accompany the solo violin in groups of two or three. In the finale however, a ‘genuine’ virtuoso violin concerto unfolds in miniature.

Porträt Hans Werner Henze: © Schott Music / Hans Kenner

Work of the Week - Wilfried Hiller: Momo

On 16 December, the world premiere of Wilfried Hiller’s children’s opera Momo will take place at Munich’s Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, staged by Nicole Claudia Weber and conducted by Michael Brandstätter. Anna Woll will play the title role of Momo, alongside the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz chorus and children’s choir.

Commissioned by the Munich Gärtnerplatztheater and with a libretto by Wolfgang Adenberg, Momo is based on the eponymous children’s novel by the late Michael Ende, with whom Hiller had a long-standing artistic partnership. As a tribute to their friendship Hillier affectionately modelled the character Gigi on Ende, including references even within the music itself, such as when Hiller quotes a guitar melody of Ende’s in a pizzicato melody in the cellos and double basses. Hiller’s instrumentation is purposefully restrained in the beginning, only engaging the full orchestra at the climax of the action, and in keeping with Hiller’s unorthodox style, the character Master Hora is represented by a chorus rather than an individual.

 Wilfried Hiller – Momo: A music theatre piece for children

Momo is poor and lives alone in a modest dwelling just outside the city. Nevertheless, the young girl has many friends, as she has the rare gift of being a very good listener. One day, the mysterious Men in Grey of the Time Savings Bank appear in the city, convincing people to bank their time. Only Momo realises that the people are being cheated out of their time, and so declares war on the Men in Grey. With the help of Master Hora and his turtle Kassiopeia, Momo tricks the Men in Grey, and manages to free the stolen time, returning it to its rightful owners.
Momo: What's the time?
Master Hora: Time is always there, it's like music that we do not hear because it's always in us. Sometimes you can hear it, like ripples on the water caused by the wind.

9 further performances of Momo will be staged at the Gärtnerplatztheater from 17 December to 18 January 2019. Also this month, Hiller’s Singspiel Das Traumfresserchen will be performed at the Staatstheater Cottbus on 27 December.

© Christian POGO Zach

Work of the Week – György Ligeti: Ramifications

On 22 September György Ligeti’s Ramifications will be performed in Oslo by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Per Kristian Skalstad. Later in the week, another performance will be given at the festival Les Musicales de Quiberon conducted by Pascal Gallois on 25 September.

Ligeti’s compositions from the early 1960s employ dense compositional structures, as in pieces such as Atmosphères (1961), but his later works become increasingly unstructured. Ramifications (1968-69) exemplifies Ligeti’s development of what he termed “musical net-formations,” a method of composition in which many small repeated musical motifs are layered so intricately, that when played, they cannot be discerned separately by the listening ear.

Ligeti's Ramifications - From "dense and static" to "fragmented and agile"

Composed for string orchestra or 12 solo strings, Ramifications divides the players into two groups. Half of the instruments are tuned to a slightly higher pitch, resulting in an inescapable dissonance. The 12 musical parts then each move independently in detailed repeating patterns, yet layered in such close proximity of pitch that the detail becomes impossible to perceive. In only a few places do these layered strands disentangle, resulting in brief moments of more unified harmony.
Ramifications is an end point of sorts in my development from ‘dense and static’ to ‘fragmented and agile’. Especially in the areas where the musical material is tightly meshed, a whole new kind of ‘uncertain’ harmony appears, as if the harmonies have ‘rotted’. Ramifications has a strong taste and decay has permeated the music. – György Ligeti

Further performances of Ligeti's music this week include Études pour piano with Boris Berezovsky on 19 September at Beethovenfest Bonn, and Lontano with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester conducted by Kirill Petrenko at the National Theatre in Munich on 19 and 20 September. Mysteries of the Macabre will be played three times in the next fortnight: on 20 September by the Philharmonisches Orchester Gießen conducted by Michael Hofstetter with soprano Marie Friederike Schöder, and on 23 and 25 September by the Düsseldorf Symphoniker conducted by Alexandre Bloch, with Eir Inderhaug as soloist at the Tonhalle in Dusseldorf.