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Thread: Contemporary opera

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    Opera is one of those few genres that's only getting better.

    Reimann, Birtwistle, and Saariaho are probably my favorite all-around contemporary opera composers, off the top of my head, but there are many great ones.

    Funny, I'm just recently discovering Philippe Manoury... Have any of his other operas besides the 60th Parallel been recorded? I'd be interested to hear just about anything based on Kafka; I haven't been able to hear Reimann's setting of The Castle, but Poul Ruders has a nice setting of The Trial (interspersed with bits of Kafka's life).

    Beat Furrer and Salvatore Sciarrino also seem to be really strong names in opera right now.

    I've heard bits and pieces of Chin's setting of Alice In Wonderland, but it needs a recording asap! And Brett Dean's Bliss! And...and...(too many to name)

    Etc etc etc
    There is not an official, commercial release of any other of Manoury's operas, to the best of my knowledge. However, "Alice in Wonderland" has been released on DVD:




    About Kafka's operatic adaptations, of which there are a few, there is one by Sciarrino himself!. It's 'La porta della legge':

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFnFao0NDng

    Perhaps the more famous operatic adaptation is Glass's 'In the Penal Colony':

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSMpgvf1owE

    Arguably, the more succesful so far is André Laporte 'Das Schloss':



    Personally, my favorite musical adaptation from Kafka it's not an opera, but 'Kafka Fragments', by Gÿorgy Kurtág. In fact, Dawn Upshaw and Geoff Nuttall have performed 'Kafka Fragments' in a staging by Peter Sellars, but it's not a work originally planned for the stage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0N8cqEbLyQ

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  3. #17
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    By the way, I haven't listened to Bluthaus, but I do have his chamber opera Nacht, and it's quite clear that Haas' music works for the stage as well as it works for anything else.

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    NathanB, Unsuk Chin is currently writing another opera, based on Through the Looking Glass, to be premiered in a few years.

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    The character of Faustus had always been a favourite for opera composers. Starting in the 19th century pieces like Faust, La Damnation de Faust, Mefistofele..., to Pascal Dusapin's Faustus, the Last Night, with Busoni's Doktor Faust in between.


    One very nice work on the subject is the "Faust Cantata", by Schnittke, that was in origin just a part of an opera: Historia von D. Johann Fausten, that never materialized:




    However, let's present in this post Giacomo Manzoni's Doktor Faustus, based on episodes from Thomas Mann’s novel, selected by the composer, and premiered at La Scala, in 1989. This is the beginning of the opera:

    http://www.goear.com/listen/d63edd2/f-ff

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    Jonathan Dove is a British composer, quite experienced in the field of Opera, as he has written several pieces. One of them is a favorite of mine, Flight, the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who lived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, for several years, later also used by Steven Spielberg as the basis for one of his movies.

    We can watch Flight complete in youtube, from a Mezzo broadcast:



    But arguably, Dove's more celebrated opera so far is The Adventures of Pinocchio:



    It's based on the novel by Carlo Collodi. As you can imagine the plot is the creation of the wooden puppet 'Pinocchio' and some of his adventures on the way to becoming a real boy. It's a very nice opera, and suitable also for children.


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    Thanks for the last few recommendations. I've had a bit of bad luck with only finding dour and/or depressing modern operas lately.

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  13. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post
    The character of Faustus had always been a favourite for opera composers. Starting in the 19th century pieces like Faust, La Damnation de Faust, Mefistofele..., to Pascal Dusapin's Faustus, the Last Night, with Busoni's Doktor Faust in between.


    One very nice work on the subject is the "Faust Cantata", by Schnittke, that was in origin just a part of an opera: Historia von D. Johann Fausten, that never materialized:




    However, let's present in this post Giacomo Manzoni's Doktor Faustus, based on episodes from Thomas Mann’s novel, selected by the composer, and premiered at La Scala, in 1989. This is the beginning of the opera:

    http://www.goear.com/listen/d63edd2/f-ff
    What do you mean by this? I listened to a recording of the whole Schnittke opera last fall. You're just referring to it being unfinished or something, I take it?

    Has anyone heard the operas of Johannes Kalitzke?

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    Exactly. Schnittke himself despaired of being able to complete his opera, and the recording you mention (I guess it should be Gerd Albrecht's) is incompleted, too. To the best of my knowledge the piece has never been staged with all the music available included, either.

    About Mr. Kalitzke, I own this cd with his opera "Die Besessenen":




    since a couple of years, but I must confess I have given it only a perfunctory hearing, so I would need to listen to it again to have a useful opinion.

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    schigolch , would you recommend any contemporary Japanese opera? What a shame that Toru Takemitsu never composed any opera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    schigolch , would you recommend any contemporary Japanese opera? What a shame that Toru Takemitsu never composed any opera.
    I only recently found out that Takemitsu composed songs.

    MI0002918562.jpg

    As it says here, they aren't really what you'd expect:

    Takemitsu's songs, many of which were written for film scores, are hardly recognizable as the work of the composer of delicate but distinctly modernist orchestral and chamber music. These songs could easily be mistaken for popular music of the 1930s and 1940s: cabaret songs, melancholy French chansons, soulful ballads, Latin-tinged dances, and jazz standards.
    http://www.allmusic.com/album/toru-t...s-mw0001969452

    They are very pretty though, doesn't offer a clue what a Takemitsu opera would be like though.

    The soft complaining flute in dying notes discovers the woes of hopeless lovers.

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    Everyone knows Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer easily.



    and then there's a relatively obscure one from today

    Olga Neuwirth's opera Lost Highway based on the Lynch film:


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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    schigolch , would you recommend any contemporary Japanese opera? What a shame that Toru Takemitsu never composed any opera.
    Takemitsu was considering an opera near the end of his life before his unfortunate death of (bladder?) cancer.

    Not long before, he wrote a piece for choir, orchestra, and soloist called "My Way of Life" that Peter Burt, in his book on Takemitsu's works, speculates may be an indication of what a Takemitsu-composed opera could have been like.

    As for other Japanese operas, most of them really haven't traveled outside of their country of origin.

    Yasushi Akutagawa's television opera "Hiroshima no Orfee" is somewhat interesting, though I imagine it would be hard to follow without knowing the language at all. The score is a bit filmscore-ish in parts, and it dates from Akutagawa's middle "avant-garde" period.


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    Quote Originally Posted by quack View Post
    I only recently found out that Takemitsu composed songs.

    MI0002918562.jpg

    As it says here, they aren't really what you'd expect:


    http://www.allmusic.com/album/toru-t...s-mw0001969452

    They are very pretty though, doesn't offer a clue what a Takemitsu opera would be like though.

    Takemitsu made many arrangements for pop songs and folk songs too, of course for various purposes. But judging from his "serious" outputs, I would say that he is not only a very ideal candidate for composing opera, but also a potential pioneer of a new operatic language. His score for "Kwaidan" (Ghosts), a combination of traditional Japanese music and the avant-garde soundscape, to me is much more daring and thrilling that most of the repetitive stuffs by Glass, and (the late) Ligeti and Penderecki. (Not to mention that he can just simply top up the Messiaenic flavors whenever he wants to).


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Takemitsu was considering an opera near the end of his life before his unfortunate death of (bladder?) cancer.

    Not long before, he wrote a piece for choir, orchestra, and soloist called "My Way of Life" that Peter Burt, in his book on Takemitsu's works, speculates may be an indication of what a Takemitsu-composed opera could have been like.

    As for other Japanese operas, most of them really haven't traveled outside of their country of origin.

    Yasushi Akutagawa's television opera "Hiroshima no Orfee" is somewhat interesting, though I imagine it would be hard to follow without knowing the language at all. The score is a bit filmscore-ish in parts, and it dates from Akutagawa's middle "avant-garde" period.

    Thanks Mahlerian! This is a very interesting finding for me!

    Based on my first impression, I agree that the score is like a combination of Berg and film music. Usually I would prefer a more genuine musical language like the Kwaidan clip I posted just now

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    schigolch , would you recommend any contemporary Japanese opera? What a shame that Toru Takemitsu never composed any opera.
    My favorite contemporary Japanese composer is Toshio Hosokawa. He recently premiered at La Monnaie, in Brussels, his third opera, Matsukaze, based on a Noh theater piece, written by Zeami Motokiyo in the 15th century:

    http://www.goear.com/listen/39b9069/m-hosokawa

    A couple of brief fragments from his second opera, Hanjo, inspired in Yukio Mishima:




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