Archive pour la catégorie ‘Premieres’

A couple of suggestions for the weekend

16 May 2014

The long weekend won’t be too great it seems weather wise. Why not take the opportunity to listen to a couple of new albums and attend live performances? Vocal music lovers will certainly be thrilled with three of Analekta’s recent releases: L’heure rose (collaboration between Hélène Guilmette and Martin Dubé), Love’s Minstrels (Philippe Sly and Michael McMahon) and Handel, Porpora: Les années londoniennes (Julie Boulianne and Luc Beauséjour).

Since there aren’t any tickets left for Turandot at Opéra de Montréal, why not try a brand new opera, premiered last night at Monument-National, Pierre Michaud’s Le Rêve de Grégoire (sung in French)? This Chants libres production tells Grégoire’s journey (loosely inspired by the character from Kafka’s Metamorphosis) who has to learn how to transform his revolt into action. The show is directed by René-Daniel Dubois. More information here…

You may also take in the sights at the Botanical Garden before planning your own planting. Why not catch a concert at the same time? Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà will be performing in the auditorium of the Garden at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Philip Glass goes back to Kafka

8 April 2014

The Royal Opera has announced a few days ago details of its 2014/15 season. There are seven new main-house productions including a new opera from Philip Glass, The Trial – based on the famous Kafka novel – with a Christopher Hampton libretto. The world premiere will be held on October 10, 2014, and the show will run for six London performances and then will tour in Wales and England in October and November.

First published in 1925, Kafka’s best known work has been adapted on screen as well as in theater over the years. It is the story of Joseph K’s (terribly contemporary) nightmare. Joseph is a bank employee arrested and forced to defend his innocence against a charge for a crime about which he knows nothing. The opera is a  co-commission and co-production with the Royal Opera House, Theater Magdeburg, Germany and Scottish Opera.  It is written for 8 singers and12 players. The leading role of Joseph K will be played by baritone Johnny Herford. The rest of the cast features soprano Amanda Forbes, Rowan Hellier, Paul Curievici, Michael Bennett, Gwion Thomas, Nicholas Folwell and Michael Druiett.  The opera will be directed by Michael McCarthy, with design is by Simon Banham and lighting by Ace McCarron. Michael Rafferty directs the Music Theatre Wales Ensemble.
It is not the first time that Glass dives into Kafka’s universe. He wrote In the Penal Colony, a chamber opera in one act premiered in 2000 (for two singers and a string quartet) and wrote Metamorphosis, a set of five piano pieces, Nos. 3 and 4 having being used as incidental music for two productions of the Kafka play.
You can get re-acquainted with Glass’ music here, in the first of three Portraits devoted to contemporary composers by Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà.



Creations to be seen as well as heard

28 October 2013

 “I kept on getting ideas that I couldn’t just say in music. I needed these extra layers to tell the things I wanted to tell.” This is Dutch composer Michel van der Aa talking, he who is best known for his works requiring musicians to interact with counterparts present on film. For example, Up-close, to get its American premiere tonight as part of the Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, gives the cello soloist an enigmatic and silent alter ego: a woman who appears in a film directed by van der Aa. The piece is accessible and shifts between acoustic and electronic sounds, and received the the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition last year.

“What I found is that there are so many similarities between filmmaking and composing: the way you handle time, the way you handle phrasing, the editing of the film,” he said. “I’ve always been a very visual person, so for me, it was a very natural way to work.”

You can learn more about the composer and his works in this thorough article from The New York Times.


Premiere of Concerto de l’Asile tomorrow

14 January 2013

The forces that gave rise to the concerto to be premiered tomorrow (repeat performance on Wednesday) began five years ago when pianist Alain Lefèvre and Walter Boudreau agreed on a collaborative venture. The composer had already written incidental music for a production of Claude Gauvreau’s L’Asile de la pureté, which was mounted by the TNM in 2004. The concerto we hear tonight grew out of a piano piece, the “Valse de l’aisle,” which in turn was derived from music for Gauvreau’s play. The waltz, fragments of which can be heard in the third movement, became the basis for a large-scale symphonic poem that traces the life of the Quebec playwright, poet, literary critic and signer of the Refus global manifesto.

“The main thrust of this concerto,” explains Boudreau, “rests on the very concept of the concerto genre – a large-scale work in which a solo instrument engages in dialogue with the orchestra and in which music, the language par excellence, basically speaks in and of itself, generating in absolute terms all its constituent components.

 “My concerto is a tribute to the avant-garde Quebec poet and author Claude Gauvreau (1925-1971), who died from apparent suicide as a result of the involuntary absorption of LSD. The first movement depicts the bridge between his visionary poetic world (represented by the piano) and the obscurantist society of the time (the orchestra). In the face of this lack of understanding and possibly, according to the poet, the failure of all means of real communication, Gauvreau developed a “sound poetry,” a kind of onomatopoeic language that he described as exploréen (explorean).

 The titles of the first and third movements refer to works Gauvreau wrote for the stage, while the second movement induces memories of the asylum for the mentally disturbed in Saint-Jean-de-Dieu, now a psychiatric hospital in Montreal East (Louis-Hyppolite Lafontaine).

 The first movement (Les Oranges sont vertes) is a dialogue in which the same material is continuously passed back and forth between two “adversaries” (piano and orchestra, neither of which seems to be “listening” to the other) in a kind of highly-organized to and fro without ever arriving on common ground, despite dramatic juxtapositions and attempts at reconciliation in the tuttis. Misunderstood, unappreciated and rejected, Gauvreau slipped into insanity (piano cadenza). Following a series of confinements in a mental institution and a program of sedatives and cruel, electroshock treatments, he withdrew into Baudelaire’s imaginary paradise where “all is order and beauty, luxury, calm and sensuality.”

 The second movement (Saint-Jean-de-Dieu) depicts these “seraphic,” chemically-induced interludes where, in spite of the apparent but deceptive serenity of the atmospherically sensual music, a repressed rebellion wells up, giving rise to a slow return to increasing consciousness and leading into the next movement.

 The third movement (La Charge de l’orignal épormyable), in which not only does the poet return to his senses (preponderance of solo piano here), but forcefully, following a mad waltz, slowly brings back feverish elements of the first movement, “overwhelming” the orchestra and, despite an early death (funeral procession), triumphing by the end in a posthumous, brilliant tutti.”

The OSM, under French conductor Ludovic Morlot, also performs a Wagner ouverture and Debussy’s Images. Details and tickets here…