The rediscovery continues: Erich Wolfgang Korngold's long-forgotten opera Das Wunder der Heliane (“The Miracle of Heliane”) has experienced a renaissance in recent years. A new version of the piece is now being premiered: The Nederlandse Reisopera presents Das Wunder der Heliane in a version for medium orchestra by Fergus McAlpine. This means that smaller opera houses can now also perform the piece. The premiere will take place in Enschede on September 30.
Tagged with 'chamber opera'
A journey into the psyche of 500 years ago: Australian composer Mary Finsterer embarks on an extraordinary search for clues in her opera Biographica. The work will be premiered in Melbourne on September 21. Here at Theare Works, it will be directed by Heather Fairbairn and conducted by Patrick Burns.
A sequel to Verdi's opera: The Niederrheinische Sinfoniker will perform the world premiere of the chamber opera Aida - The Fifth Act by Stefan Heucke on September 03 2023 in Mönchengladbach with the conductor Giovanni Conti. The libretto is by Ralph Köhnen with a production by Dennis Krauß.
The opera is a parable of a cruel emperor, whose senseless war is claiming many lives. Death puts an end to the chaos by refusing his duty – now, everyone lives for eternity. The king becomes disempowered, but the people long for a release from the pain of life. Only the voluntary death of the emperor can restore death’s original purpose.
Ullmann wrote The Emperor of Atlantis while imprisoned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, based on a libretto by Peter Kien, a fellow prisoner. The opera was rehearsed by a chamber ensemble founded with the permission of the SS, but its performance was prohibited after the final rehearsal. Just before his deportation to Auschwitz in 1944, Ullmann handed the score and libretto to a friend who was able to save both manuscripts.
Viktor Ullmann – The Emperor of Atlantis: a theatrical memorial
I composed quite a lot of new music in Theresienstadt, mostly for satisfying the demands of conductors, directors, pianists, singers and thus for the leisure activities in the Ghetto […]. I need to emphasize that my musical work was encouraged and not inhibited by Theresienstadt. We were not merely succumbing to grief at Babylon’s streams, and our cultural will was equal to our will to live; and I am convinced that all those who have attempted to shape reluctant material in either life or art would agree with me. – Viktor Ullmann
There will be two further performances at Landestheater Neustrelitz with the last night being presented on 24 October. In Düsseldorf, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein will run for a further eight performances until 19 November. Several versions and manuscripts of the opera are available that show the work in various stages before and after its censorship. A new Eulenburg study score from Schott (ETP 8067) shows each version together in one edition.
- Viktor Ullmann – composer profile
- Der Kaiser von Atlantis – work details and online score
- Landestheater Neustrelitz
- Deutsche Oper am Rhein
photo: Deutsche Oper am Rhein / Hans Jörg Michel