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Tagged with 'New York'

Work of the Week – Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Symphony in F sharp

Symphony in F sharp by Erich Wolfgang Korngold is his first and only completed Symphony. Written in American exile, it is one of the greatest orchestral works by the originally Austrian composer and to be performed by the Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of November. Following this, New York, Boston, Ann Arbor and Naples will see further performances on the orchestra’s extensive international tour.

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Work of the Week – Hannah Lash: Desire

On Wednesday and Thursday 16-17 October, Miller Theatre presents the world premiere performances of Hannah Lash’s chamber opera, Desire. The production is conducted by Daniela Candillari, directed by Rachel Dickstein, and features the JACK Quartet.
Desire is an opera about the artists' journey navigating both inspiration and doubt. The piece takes the form of a metaphor, set in a magical garden where flowers miraculously can be unearthed by the main character, an artist, and just as quickly die and turn to ash if the conviction of the artist is shaken.
We watch while the artist finds herself, finds trust in herself, struggling with her relationships to both doubt and inspiration, finally building both out of her world as she becomes wholly self-reliant. Hannah Lash

On November 14 and 16, the Naples Philharmonic gives the world premiere of Hannah Lash’s Double Concerto for piano and harp, featuring Jeremy Denk and Hannah Lash as soloists.

Work of the Week - Kurt Weill: Street Scene

On 22 December, Theater Münster will perform Kurt Weill's opera Street Scene (1946), staged by Hendrik Müller and conducted by Stefan Veselka.

After seeing a performance of Elmer Rice’s original play in Berlin, Weill was immediately inspired to set the play to music and fulfil his dream of writing an ‘American Opera’ by seamlessly fusing European Opera with the American Broadway style. It took 10 years of persistence for Rice to agree to the idea, but he then became very involved in the process and ultimately co-wrote the opera’s libretto with James Hughes. On 9 January 1947, Street Scene was premiered at the Adelphi Theater in New York, staged by Charles Friedman and under the musical direction of Maurice Abravanel.

Kurt Weill – Street Scene: an American Opera

Street Scene transports the audience to the streets of 1920s New York, and into the lives of the inhabitants of a shabby East Side tenement building. Over the course of two hot summer days, the opera follows their stories of hope, violence, love and disappointment.  Anna Maurrant is having an affair with the milkman and the whole neighborhood, apart from Anna’s husband Frank, are aware of her deception. Meanwhile Anna’s daughter Rose is in love with the neighbor's son Sam, and together they dream of escaping to a better life. One day Frank comes home unexpectedly to find Anna with her lover, leading to a tragic finale.
American opera has at last been realized. . . . Weill's music is dissonant, melodic, cacophonous, brutal, powerful, and emotional, with incredible climax building upon incredible climax, as the orchestra and singers love, weep, wail and shout the joys and sorrows of life against a stark, sordid background of a great dramatic story of America.  - Musical Digest, 1947

Weill's opera will receive 8 further performances at Theater Münster from 3 January to 23rd April 2019. Further Kurt Weill performances will take place from 2 February to 30 March 2019 in Stuttgart, when Schauspiel Stuttgart will present his satirical ballet chanté The Seven Deadly Sins (1933).


© Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen

Work of the Week - Mark-Anthony Turnage: The Silver Tassie

On 10 November 2018, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera The Silver Tassie (1997-1999) in concert  as part of their In Remembrance World War I series at the Barbican in London. Ryan Wigglesworth will conduct, with an excellent cast including Sally Matthews, Sir John Tomlinson, Claire Booth, Marcus Farnsworth, Louise Alder, Susan Bickley, and Ashley Riches as Harry, the lead character.

Based on Sean O’Casey’s 1928 play on the futility of war, The Silver Tassie is set in Dublin during World War I. Its title, referring to a footballing trophy, comes from a Scottish song text by Robert Burns “Go fetch to me a pint o’ wine, an’ fill it in a silver tassie; that I may drink before I go, a service to my bonnie lassie”. The opera was co-commissioned by English National Opera whilst Turnage was their Composer in Association, and Dallas Opera.

Mark-Anthony Turnage - The Silver Tassie: the tragedy of war

The story of The Silver Tassie centres around Harry Heagen - a handsome soldier on leave from the Great War, and a renowned footballer. Triumphant after winning the football cup ‘The Silver Tassie’ for his team, Harry leaves his family and girlfriend Jessie for the front. There he is rescued from death by his best friend Barney, but loses the use of his legs and is confined to a wheelchair. Harry then discovers Jessie has deserted him for Barney, and the final act brings a poignant and moving conclusion, as he sets off to face an uncertain future.
It is not only words that come across vividly, but feelings too. The sheer theatricality of the music is dazzling. Turnage knows precisely how to hold the audience's interest and sympathy, timing each scene consummately and providing haunting "tag" tunes and a series of grand operatic gestures. – Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

Further upcoming performances for Turnage include the staging of his explosive first opera Greek (1986-1988) at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music from 5-9 December 2018.


© Foto: Keith Saunders

Work of the Week: Alexander Goehr – Vanishing Word

On 25 November, Ensemble Modern will give a concert focused on the music of Alexander Goehr at the Wigmore Hall in London, including the UK premiere of his major song cycle Vanishing Word with mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer and tenor Christopher Gillet. The following day, the same performers present the concert at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, marking the work’s German premiere.

First composed in 2013 for two voices and piano, Vanishing Word is a cycle of songs, duets and instrumental pieces orchestrated in 2015 for mezzo soprano, tenor and ensemble. The work explores the ambiguities of words, of ideas, and of human understanding. Goehr has set seven texts by six different authors, among them Jakob Böhme, Rainer Maria Rilke and Ingeborg Bachmann, that address in some manner man’s distance from nature and the ways in which language and meaning diverge over time. Between the sung movements, the words ‘vanish’ in five instrumental preludes.

Vanishing Word: The meaning of meaning

Vanishing Word begins with a metaphor of language as a tree, as described by the 17th century German mystic Jakob Böhme. Through growth and separations, the universal language of nature becomes divided into increasingly weaker languages. In the second song Goehr sets the story of how Adam was ordered by God to assign a name to each animal, and the following texts are settings of poems which reflect on the nature and use of words. The texts captured Goehr’s attention while he was working on his earlier song cycle for baritone TurmMusik (2009) which tells the biblical story of the Tower of Babylon, and is thus related thematically to Vanishing Word.

Vanishing Word had its world premiere on 22 January 2016 in New York by the Juilliard Ensemble, after which the cycle was lauded for its combination of mysticism and transparency.
The impression I aim to create is one of transparency: the listener should perceive, both in the successive and simultaneous dimensions of the score, the old beneath the new and the new arising from the old. – Alexander Goehr

Alongside Vanishing Word, Ensemble Modern will give the world premiere of two other pieces by Goehr, Manere II for clarinet and horn and Manere III for clarinet, horn and violin, to complement Goehr’s existing Manere I (2008). The title ‘Manere’ refers to a particular melisma from Gregorian chant that, for several centuries, was frequently used in works by composers including by Pérotin and Machaut before largely disappearing.