Three opera premieres to look forward to in April:
Les Bienveillantes is Hèctor Parra’s sixth major theatre work. It is based upon Jonathan Littell’s 2006 novel The Kindly Ones (Les Bienveillantes), which explores a fictional protagonist who helped carry out the Holocaust and was present at key events during World War 2. Opera Ballet Vlaanderen give the premiere in Antwerp on 24th, with subsequent performances running into May.
Tarik O’Regan’s new opera, The Phoenix, tells the life of Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Starting life as a priest and poet, he was banished when it was discovered that had a secret family and was a frequenter of brothels. Despite flourishing as a librettist he eventually faced bankruptcy and fled to America, earning a living as a greengrocer before founding New York City’s first opera company. The work, to a libretto by John Caird, starts its run at Houston Grand Opera on 26th April.
Oceane is Detlev Glanert’s second collaboration with librettist Hans-Ulrich Treichel. It is based upon a unfinished novella by Theodor Fontane that ‘attempts to encapsulate in the form of Melusine the sense of menace and fascination felt by a bourgeois, male-dominated society faced with femininity coupled with an archaic, erotically permissive artlessness.’ Deutsche Oper Berlin give the premiere on 28th, with performance continuing into May.
Not a premiere but also worth consideration is Alexander Vustin’s opera Le Diable Amoureeux. Based upon Jacques Cazotte’s novel of the same name, it tells of a demon that falls in love with a young nobleman and, in the guise of a young woman, attempts to win his affections. Despite the work being finished in 1989 (after nearly fifteen years of composing) it did not receive its first performance until February of this year. The performances on 5th and 7th April at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre could be your last chance to experience it.
I’ve listed some more premieres from around the world below. Three I find especially attractive:
Joby Talbot’s new cantata, Sheen of Dew on Flowers, sets rare and sensual poetry across several millennia in a concert that celebrated the partnership of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is performed by the Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican on 11th.
A new work by Harrison Birtwistle is always an event, even when the work itself is small. Duet for 8 Strings for viola and cello will be performed by the Nash Ensemble at Wigmore Hall, London on 12th. There will be a section of other works by the composers, as well as Mosaic by Elliott Carter and, poignantly, a posthumous UK premiere for Oliver Knussen’s Study for ‘Metamorphosis’ for solo bassoon.
Also enticing is a new work, KRONOS-KRYPTOS for percussion quintet, by George Crumb, to be performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York City on 14th. It forms part of an all-Crumb concert celebrating the composer’s 90th birthday year. There will, furthermore, be a chance to hear more works, including his awe-awe-importing Black Angels for Electric String Quartet, on 16th.
April Premiere Diary
8th OSO Arts Centre, London. Luciano, Clarinet Sonata no. 8.
11th Barbican Hall, London. Talbot, A Sheen of Dew on Flowers. Britten Sinfonia.
12th Wigmore Hall, London. Birtwistle, Duet for 8 Strings for viola and cello. Nash Ensemble.
4th Sibelius Hall, Lahti. Aho, Symphony no. 17. Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
4th DR Koncerthuset: Concert Hall, Copenhagen. Ruders, Accordion concerto. Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
4th Maison de la radio:Auditorium, Paris. Robin, New work. Orchestre National de France.
5th, 7th Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre: Main Stage, Moscow. Vustin, The Devil in Love. Stanislavsky Opera.
6th Concertgebouw: Main Hall, Amsterdam. Nas, Horseless Carriage. Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
7th Konserthuset Stockholm: Grünewaldsalen, Stockholm. Lindgren, Nonet. Ensemble Misto.
8th Pesti Vigadó (Vigadó Concert Hall), Budapest. Mizuki, New Work. Ruka Yokoyama, Piano.
13th (dates into May): GöteborgsOperan, Gothenburg. Martinů, Trois fragments de Juliette (World première staging). Göteborg Opera.
24th Opera Vlaanderen, Antwerp, Antwerp. Parra, Les Bienveillantes. Opera Vlaanderen
25th De Doelen: Grote Zaal, Rotterdam. Wagemans, Love, baby love. Nederlands Kamerkoor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
25th Conservatoire Darius Milhaud: Auditorium Campra, Aix-en-Provence. Attahir, Mélodies. Trio Zadig, String Trio.
28th Deutsche Oper, Berlin. Glanert, Oceane. Deutsche Oper Berlin
30th Temple Church, London. Bruce, New Work for soprano and bass.
1st Carnegie Hall: Weill, New York City, Nickell, New Work for soprano and piano (World premiere)
7th Collins Center for the Arts, Orono. Richman, New Work. Bangor Symphony Orchestra.
13th Hong Kong City Hall: Concert Hall, Hong Kong. Leung, Life Episode II. Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
14th Lincoln Center: Alice Tully Hall, New York City. Crumb, New Work for Percussion Quintet.
23rd Carnegie Hall: Weill, New York City. Chang, Cello Sonata.
26th Wortham Theater Center: Houston Grand Opera, Houston. O’Regan, The Phoenix. Houston Grand Opera.