Sierva María, daughter of the Marquis Don Ygnacio, grows up without a mother. She is brought up by the black housekeeper Dominga who also teaches her the Yoruba language of the slaves and introduces her to the world of voodoo. During an eclipse of the sun, Sierva María is bitten by an apparently rabid dog at the slave market in Cartagena de Indias, but seems to be barely injured and certainly not infected. In celebration of Sierva’s twelfth birthday, Dominga performs a voodoo ritual on her and gives her a necklace to wear depicting Oshun, the god of love and beauty. Her father vehemently opposes these heathen rituals; he does not wish his daughter to adhere to the customs of the slaves. Within the atmosphere of superstition and religious mania prevalent in the town, the subject of rabies has soon been dropped; the inhabitants have long been unnerved by Sierva’s almost animalistic ferocity and now maintain that she has been possessed since the incident with the dog. Although the Jewish doctor Abrenuncio can detect no signs of either rabies or bedevilment, Bishop Toribio orders that Sierva should be incarcerated in the nunnery of St. Clare and orders Father Cayetano Delaura to perform her exorcism. Soon however, it is Delaura who is possessed – namely by the ‘most terrible of all demons’, an overwhelming love of Sierva. When Abbess Josefa Miranda discovers the Father and Sierva in a compromising situation, she throws him out of the nunnery. It is the Bishop who now performs the exorcism which Sierva does not survive: her dying thoughts are of the protective gods of the Yoruba and the Spanish love poems by Pater Delaura.
Love and Other Demons takes place in the magically tropical world of Columbia in the eighteenth century. The opera is based on the novel ‘Del amor y otros demonios’ (Of Love and Other Demons, published in 1994) by the Columbian winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gabriel García Márquez. The libretto was compiled by the Hungarian author Kornél Hamvai and the English dramatist Edward Kemp cooperated with Peter Eötvös on the English passages of the text. A special feature of Love and Other Demons is the seating of the orchestra in the pit: two identical instrumental groups (each consisting of strings, solo wind players and a percussionist) are positioned left and right framing the central group consisting of bass clarinet, saxophone, tuba, harp and celesta. This central group functions as a tonal bridge linking the outer dialogues between the other two orchestral groups. Instruments from the centre group are also employed to highlight particular musicaldramatic moments such as the celesta with which the opera begins and ends and the tuba which accompanies the exorcism scene. The multilingualism of the libretto is a further special feature. Peter Eötvös and Kornél Hamvai have allotted a particularly characteristic language to each of the different narratives and actions in this story: English is the daily language used by the aristocracy, Latin is the language for the ecclesiastical rituals, Delaura reverts to Spanish when his conversations with Sierva take on a personal note and Yoruba is the language of the slaves.
Bläser, Schlagzeug und Streicher sind gleichmäßig in 2 Gruppen (l./r. im Graben) aufgeteilt.Bassklar., Sax., Tb., Hfe. und Cel. sind dazwischen positioniert. Backstage sind vier bis acht Lautsprecher aufgestellt, für deren Steuerung ein Toningenieur erforderlich ist. Für alle technischen Anweisungen wenden Sie sich bitte an www.eotvospeter.com
Wind instruments, percussion and string sections are divided into two groups and positioned in the pit (left side / right side) with bass clarinet, sax, tuba, harp and celesta between the two groups. Four to Eight loudspeakers are positioned backstage; a sound engineer is required for balancing the sound. For technical instructions please contact www.eotvospeter.com