On 9 March (additional performances on 11, 12, 13 and 16) Silvia Colasanti’s La Metamorfosi returns to the stage at the Teatro Goldoni in Florence. The work, defined as an opera “on solitude” in 3 parts, was commissioned by the festival Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and performed for the first time in 2012.
Metamorphosis is a theme that has been confronted many times in literature, music and the figurative arts. For this composition the literary source on which Pier’Alli, the author of the libretto, has drawn is the famous short story by Franz Kafka. The composer has explained that she wanted “to bring to the stage this story of Kafka’s - a symbol of the 20th century - in which there emerge many of the themes that would go on to form the basis for a great deal of the thought and the literature of last century: in the first place, solitude, but also identity, the acceptance or refusal of one’s own destiny, family conflict, the breakdown in interpersonal ties, man’s relationship with power and finally his relationship with beauty.
The Orchestra and Choir of the Maggio Musicale will once again be conducted by Marco Angius (with Lorenzo Fratini as choir master), while the stage direction, scenery, costumes and video concept are by Pier’Alli, who, together with Luciano Roticiani, is also responsible for the lighting.
The interpreters include Edoardo Lomazzi (Gregorio Samsa), Laura Catrani (the sister), Gabriella Sborgi (the mother), Tiziana Tramonti (the governess) and Roberto Abbondanza (the father).
Fabio Vacchi’s new melologue Veronica Franco for soprano, reciting voice and orchestra - to be premiered on 7 March (additional performance on 9) by the G. Verdi Symphony Orchestra of Milan under the direction of Claire Gibault – is very much a women’s affair.
The melologue is a favourite form of Vacchi’s (recall the very extensive tour in France of Soudain dans la forêt profonde, starting out in February 2013 from the Comédie-Française and arriving recently at the Salle Pleyel) and once again he has chosen it to inaugurate his collaboration, in the guise of composer in residence, with the Milanese orchestra. Center-stage on this occasion is the story of Veronica Franco, the Venetian courtesan and poetess whose extraordinary beauty was immortalized by Tintoretto, a woman who, in the 14th century, courageously asserted her own rights and those of women in general. The text, in prose, is by Paola Ponti, and is entrusted to a reciting voice, the actress Giovanna Bozzolo. It alternates with original verses by the Venetian poetess herself, destined for a soprano and interpreted, on this occasion, by Talia Or.
On 11 March the world premiere of 3 post per Scarlatti for piano will be performed by Andrea Bacchetti at the Italian Cultural Institute in Madrid (commissioner of the piece). 3 post per Scarlatti is divided into 3 sections and takes as its point of departure certain compositional figurations and modalities typical of the style of Scarlatti but here absorbed into a contemporary perspective conceived for the performance qualities of Bacchetti. The composition comes to be a point of encounter and balance between tradition and experimentation, between rigor and communication, which for Vacchi constitutes a constant challenge. With the work being made up of three small forms, the title alludes to the way in which the composer communicates via Internet with young musicians throughout the world.
Rai NuovaMusica, the contemporary music concerts yearly organized by Orchestra Nazionale della RAI in Turin is at his last concerto. On March 1, the orchestra will be performing the Italian premiere of Soffio e Forma by Salvatore Sciarrino and Emanuele Casale’s A Victor Hugo Daza, both conducted by Marco Angius.
Guo Wenjing’s Riding on the wind for orchestra and band op. 27 will have its Portuguese premiere on March 2 in Porto. The L’Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, under the baton of Tobias Volkmann, will perform the composition at the Casa da Música, Ssuggia Hall.
On February 27 in Moscow, Alberto Colla’s Quartetto N. 3. Hyperthematic, will be premiered in Russia. The David Oistrakh Quartet will perform the work at the Vernadsky Concert Hall, as part of the 20th International Art Festival “Art November”.
In the same evening, another Colla’s composition, Quintetto in memoria di Dmitry Shostakovich for piano and string quartet, will have its Russian premiere, pianist Sergio Marchegiani.
Rai Nuova Musica, the contemporary music concerts yearly organized by Orchestra Nazionale della RAI is taking place now, in Turin. On February 24, the orchestra will be performing the Italian premiere of Colla's Starlights, Symphonic Poem on the Life of a Star, conducting by Pietro Mianiti, meanwhile on March 1 it’s the turn of Soffio e Forma by Salvatore Sciarrino (first performance in Italy) and Emanuele Casale’s A Victor Hugo Daza, both conducted by Marco Angius.
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra have commissioned Luca Francesconi to write a new concerto for the violinist Leila Josefowics. The world premiere of the piece, Duende - The Dark Notes, will be performed by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Susanna Mälkki at the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm on 20 February 2014 (additional performance on 21). “Historically – says Francesconi – duende is the demon of flamenco. As Federico Garcìa Lorca explains, it is a subterranean force of unheard-of power that escapes rational control. To recover a primitive force in the instrument that perhaps most embodies the history of the West it is necessary to make a perilous descent into the underworld of dark notes, or a flight beyond the orbit of the earth. Which amounts to the same thing. Extremely difficult. But without duende we remain bolted to the ground.” The concerto will also be performed – in the form of national premiere and again with Leila Josefowics – by the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI under the direction of Susanna Mälkki in Turin on 2 May.
On February 18, Andrus Kallastu will conduct the Estonian premiere of Vortex temporum I, II, III for piano and five instruments by Gérard Grisey. The concert will take place in Tallin, Estonia Concert Hall, as part of the Grisey, Levinas: French Modernist Masterpieces concert.
Glamorama spies for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano by Lorenzo Ferrero will have its American premiere on February 17. The Aura Contemporary Ensemble will perform the composition at the University of Houston, Moores School of Music, Moores Opera House.
Last October Gérard Grisey’s Vortex Temporum I II III in a version accompanied by the choreography of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker began an extensive tour at the Ruhrtriennale in Bochum. The interpreters were the ballet company Rosas and Ensemble Ictus under the direction of Georges-Elie Octors. The tour has since visited Brussels, Bruges, Leuven, Antwerp, Lille and Athens and its next stop will be at the Cultuurcentrum in Hasselt on 5 February. After that, it will proceed to the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt on 22 February (additional performance on 23 February), the Comédie in Clermont-Ferrand on 18 March, the Hyppodrome in Douai on 20 March, the MC2 in Grenoble on 23-25 April and to Théâtre de la Ville in Paris on 28-30 April. For further performances we suggest entering Ictus Ensemble website (http://www.ictus.be/project/vortex-temporum).
Vortex Temporum was composed between 1994 and 1996 for a small ensemble made up of flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano. Divided into three parts, the piece has a title that points to the beginning of a rotation and, in fact, Grisey has explained that he wanted to explore in depth the possibilities inhering to the use of the same material in different times (ordinary time, expanded time and contracted time).
Thus, alongside the spectral writing, there unfolds a game obtained by the presence of multiple times informing a construction based on structural correspondences tied to the number three. The initial cell is drawn from Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe and the “vortex” has inspired the composer to write harmonics concentrated around the sounds of the diminished seventh chord, the “rotational” chord par excellence. Each of the four sounds lead to multiple modulations and the composer has declared that he even felt pushed to seek whatever significant or innovative qualities there might still be in the tonal system, though he himself by then was distant from it. The three parts of Vortex Temporum are dedicated to Gérard Zinsstag, Salvatore Sciarrino and Helmut Lachenmann.
On February 3, Unfolding for string quartet and electronics, by Francesca Verunelli, will be performed for the first time in Italy. The concert will take place in Rome, Villa Medici, Grand Salon, as part of the Controtempo Festival, and will be performed by the Tana Ensemble.
Italian premiere for Mauro Lanza in Rome on February 3. Der Kampf zwischen Karneval und Fasten for double string quartet, will be presented at Villa Medici, Grand Salon, by the Quatuor Tana and the Quatuor Qvixote, as part of the Controtempo Festival.
Merkavo’t for orchestra by Betty Olivero will be played for the first time in Portugal, Porto, on February 1. The Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música conducted by Gunter Neuhold, will play the composition at the Casa da Música, Suggia Hall.
French premiere of Samuel Sené’s musical adaptation of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Le vaisseau fantôme) on January 31 at the Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie in Rouen (additional performances February 1 and 2). Sené’s adaptation of Wagner’s opera will be performed by the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen conducted by Julien Masmondet.
Winner of the Wagner200 competition, the work has been promoted by As.Li.Co. (Associazione Lirico e Concertistica Italiana) in the context of the project Opera Domani.
Launched in 1997 in collaboration with the Lombardy Regional Government, Opera Domani (which forms part of the activities of R.E.S.E.O. - Rèseau Europèen des Services èducatifs des maisons d'Opèra) is directed at primary and secondary school teachers with a view to familiarising children and adolescents with opera by way of producing reduced versions of famous operas for young audiences. This objective has been constantly and successfully pursued by As.Li.Co. for more than 60 years.
Opera Domani’s 2013 project is a co-production by As.Li.Co., Theater Magdeburg (Germany) and Opera de Rouen Haute-Normandie (France).
On January 29 Luigi Nono would have turned 90. 24 years have passed since his premature death (8 May 1990) and over this period the performance of his music has never ceased to attract interest. On the contrary, it has enjoyed more and more attention in the programmes of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals.
On January 25 Tempi burrascosi (Storming Times), the children opera “favola musicale” by Nicola Campogrande, text by Dario Voltolini, will be staged in Mantua, in the new version for voice, piano and percussion. Paola Roman, voice, Andrea Rebaudengo, piano and Simone Beneventi, percussion, staging and projections by Controluce Teatro d’Ombre, will present the composition at Teatro Bibiena (addtional performance on January 26 at Teatro Ariston).
After a successful tournée by the Paris Mozart Orchestra, scheduled in the first part of 2014, Soudain dans la forêt profonde by Fabio Vacchi, will be performed, once more in Paris (Salle Pleyel), by the orchestra conducted by Claire Gibault, on January 25 . The actress is Julie Sicard.
The new version of Emanuele Casale’s Conversazioni con Chomsky, talk-opera in one act on Noam Chomsky’s traces, for ensemble, voice, electronics and images will be staged in Rome (Auditorium Parco della Musica) on January 24. The performance is in the frame of Festival delle Scienze 2014, and the presence of Noam Chomsky is foreseen. The singer Diana Torto and the PMCE Ensemble are conducted by Tonino Battista. The direction is by Fabio Cherstich and the video by Igor Renzetti. Conversazioni con Chomsky was commissioned by Fondazione I Teatri di Reggio Emilia which premiered the work in 2010.
Gérard Grisey’s Mégalithes, for fifteen brass players, will have its UK premiere in London on January 22. The composition will be presented at the Barbican by BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Ilan Volkov.
Casa Ricordi joins with the entire music world in expressing its sadness at the loss of the eminent musician, intellectual and conductor Maestro Claudio Abbado. Our gratitude for his passion and constant commitment to the spread and enrichment of musical culture, understood not least as an instrument for personal growth, is immense. It is impossible not to recall Abbado’s support for the civil rights battles of the 70s alongside his fellow musicians and friends Luigi Nono and Maurizio Pollini. Equally unforgettable were his concerts and opera productions.
A great supporter of contemporary music, Claudio Abbado conducted innumerable world premieres of the most famous composers of the second half of the 20th century.
Casa Ricordi had the privilege of collaborating with Claudio Abbado in particular in the world premieres of Luigi Nono’s operas Al gran sole carico d’amore (Milan, 1975-1978) and Prometeo (Venice, 1984-1985). Another memorable collaboration was the first production of the critical edition of Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims which was initially performed at the Festival Rossini in Pesaro in August 1984 and then revived in Milan the following year at the Teatro alla Scala.