The heart’s ear for ensemble by Liza Lim will be premiered in the UK next June 14. The Chimera Ensemble, under the baton of Patrick Burnett, will perform the composition at the University of York, at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall.
On June 11 in Oporto at the Casa da Música, Sala Suggia, Luca Francesconi’s Etymo for soprano, electronics and ensemble, will be premiered in Portugal. The soprano Agata Zubel, Digitópia electronics and the Remix Ensemble will perform the work under the baton of Michael Wendeberg. As composer in residence, Francesconi will play a leading role in this prestigious company’s upcoming music season dedicated to Italy.
From June 11 to 16 Teatro Comunale in Bologna will present the Italian premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s opera Divorzio all’italiana (Divorce, Italian Style), ispired by the darkly comic film of the same name, produced in 1961 by Pietro Germi.
The libretto of Divorzio all’italiana, written by Battistelli himself and loosely based on the screenplay of the film by Pietro Germi, Alfredo Giannetti and Ennio De Concini, offers “a musical scenario for the twilight of the family” in 23 scenes. The story is set in the torrid and drowsy atmosphere of a sun-baked Sicily, with its all-pervasive smell of freshly-ground coffee and Sicilian lemons. Alternating between the farcical and the poignant, it tells of the love of Don Sandrino Ferraù, known as Fefè (Cristiano Cremonini sings the role), for his young and beautiful cousin Angela (the only character in the opera to be assigned a female voice; the rest of the cast are male). Angela (the soprano Sonia Visentin) reciprocates Fefè’s feelings but the fulfillment of their happiness has one obstacle: Rosalia, Fefè’s wife (which is played in the opera by a baritone: Alfonso Antoniozzi). Rosalia is neither fair of face nor fair of character; she is pathologically jealous. But circumstances change for the two lovers as a result of an unexpected turn of events: the appearance in Barrafranca of the painter Carmelo Patanè (Daichi Fujiki in this role), a former admirer of Rosalia. Fefè concocts innumerable strategies to engineer his wife falling into the arms of Carmelo, and, when he finally succeeds, he breaks in on the adulterers and kills his wife. This textbook case of a crime of passion meets with unanimous forgiveness on the part of the townsfolk: Fefè is now able to realize his dream and take his beloved Angela to the altar. But during the actual wedding itself, while Fefè is boasting of the 25-year age difference between himself and his young bride, Angela succumbs to the charms of the official photographer. The Symphonic Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Comunale in Bologna are conducted by Daniel Kawka, while the staging is by David Pountney, the costumes by Richard Hudson and the lighting by Fabrice Kebour. The world premiere of the opera took place on September 30, 2008 at Opera national de Lorraine in Nancy.
The absolute realisation of anarchy that leads to the violent gesture of regicide constitutes a moment of inversion in social planes where the anarchist can for an instant assume the ultimate power conferred on a sovereign (deciding over the life and death of a person), and the sovereign becomes a court jester in the hands of his subject.
Mauro Lanza has written Ludus de Morte Regis for choir and electronics, observing the affair of the assassination of Umberto I at the hands of the anarchist Gaetano Bresci precisely within this perspective of an inversion of roles (the Ludus) and in terms of the paradox of the final words of the sovereign, who declared himself happy on account of the affection his people accorded him a few moments before being assassinated.
Ludus de Morte Regis was commissioned by Les Cris de Paris and will be performed on 8 June in Paris in the context of IRCAM’s Festival Mani-Feste at the Espace de Projection, under the artistic direction of Geoffroy Jourdan.
On June 4, Marco Stroppa’s Hist Whist, for violin and chamber electronics, will be performed for the first time in the United Kingdom by Aisha Orazbayeva (Marco Stroppa at sound projection). The concert will take place at the City University, College Building, Performance Space.
Bruno Bettinelli was the maestro. Acute, patient, demanding, respectful, he never aspired to teaching systems to create music: he based his training on the twin pillars of an extremely solid technique – harmony, counterpoint, fugue, orchestration – and sagacious analysis, from Gregorian chant to Stockhausen, with a cultural breadth that extended out into literature, the figurative arts, philosophy. And he furnished his pupils with knowledge and awareness such as to leave them, once their training was completed, the freedom – the toil – of choice, as witnessed by the highly varied styles, aesthetics and careers of the many distinguished musicians that grew up under his guidance.
But to be able to teach an art, it’s necessary to practice it, and so even before being a maestro, Bruno Bettinelli was an extremely refined composer. Born in 1913 and besieged – historically speaking – by generations of domineering musicians, in the years after WWII, in the midst of the progressive furore of the avant-garde and the defensive retreats in reaction to it, he was able to construct for himself a small shelter of resistance and avoid being overwhelmed, thanks to the strength of a powerful control over technical instruments, a comprehensive mastery of traditional forms and an incessant exploration of the outcomes of the most experimental music of his time.
Between the Sinfonia da camera (1938) and the Quarto concerto per orchestra (1988) – to leave aside the precious transfigurations of his last choral works – there thus unfolded a coherent and industrious creative evolution that, from origins of a Brahms-like stamp and faithful re-considerations of Weber, developed into a music of a highly intellectual and expressive character the dialectics of which, though complex, never weigh upon the listener: the carefully considered interaction of translucent forms, contrapuntal ferment, rhythmic dynamism, luxuriant timbres and a gradual conquest of chromatic space have just one and only one objective, reiterated on many occasions by Bettinelli himself: “to communicate, to always communicate”.
Behind the spare titles of scores that privilege choral music one comes across - just like that - a music that is intensely expressive and pulsating, often gloomy, disturbing, obscure, overpowering, but not averse to distilled moments of lyricism, capable of arousing in listeners psychological and emotive tensions that are never ephemeral, even outside a complete understanding of the underlying compositional logic.
A music indecorously – though not without explanation – eluded by his contemporaries (Bettinelli, for that matter, never signed up to any parties of any sort, nor did he frequent any cultural circles, he was not interested in showing himself to be à la page, indeed, he was so moderate and sober that he shunned any form of compromise, notoriety or self-promotion), which patiently awaits the moment in which we begin to retrace the course of much of the 20th century with a view to sifting through the sands, for, as fossickers well know, gold in its raw form rarely glitters.
On June 3 Carlo Boccadoro’s Come non piangenti, four lyrics based on poems by Cristina Alziati, for mezzosoprano and piano, will be premiered in Tarcento (near Udine) by Akiko Kozato, (ms) and Adele D’Aronzo (piano). The concerto is part of the Risuonanze Festival 2013 ‘Incontri di nuove musiche’ (commissioner of the work), at the Villa De Rubeis Florit.
Since its premiere in April 2011 at La Scala, Luca Francesconi’s Quartett for two singers, two orchestras (one large orchestra hidden from sight and a small one in the orchestra pit), choir and electronics has been enjoying huge success in theatres and festivals throughout Europe. In 2013 alone the opera will be performed in five different European cities, and many more performances have been scheduled for 2014, including a planned US premiere.
The libretto, written by Francesconi, is drawn from Heiner Muller’s play of the same name, which, in turn, was being freely drawn from Pierre-Ambroise-François Choderlos de Laclos’s famous novel Les liaisons dangereuses. Quartett deals with a number of themes of the play that remain of great interest today: in particular, it deals with the theme of an identity which, in the composer’s words “is lost in an infinite multiplication of mirrors where nothing has value”, which can be seen as a “metaphor of Western civilisation as a whole”.
Following the French premiere in Paris in March, Quartett has been programmed for the opening of the Holland Festival on June 1 (also June 2). The production features soprano Allison Cook in the role of the Marquise de Merteuil and baritone Robin Adams in that of the Vicomte de Valmont. The stage direction is by Àlex Ollé from La Fura dels Baus. The Chamber Ensemble from the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala will be conducted by Susanna Mälkki, withg electronics by IRCAM.
On June 1, the Ensemble 61 will perform the US premiere of Atli Ingólfsson’s The elves accent, for quintet, in Saint Paul. The concert will take place at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Music Room in the Hamm Building, as part of the “Sounds from Scandinavia”.
Written when the composer was just 13 years of age, Demetrio e Polibio, a dramma serio per musica in two acts, was Gioachino Rossini’s first work. Performed for the first time at the Teatro Valle in Rome in 1812, amazingly it reveals all the characteristics that were typical of the author’s style.
Daniele Carnini has edited a modern critical edition of the work on behalf of the Rossini Foundation in Pesaro in collaboration with Casa Ricordi. The first production of this revised work took place on 10 August 2010 at the Rossini Opera Festival (ROF). This was directed by Davide Livermore.
Now, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples (which produced the opera in 1838) is preparing to revive the ROF production and will perform it at the Teatrino di Corte in Palazzo Reale from 29 May to 7 June 2013. The chorus and orchestra of the theatre will be conducted by Alessandro De Marchi.
In Copenhagen on May 28, as part of the Athelas New Music Festival, will take place the Danish premiere of Barocco, for voice, viola and toy instruments by Mauro Lanza. The composition will be performed by the Curious Chamber Players under the baton of Rei Munakata, Sofia Jernberg, voice.
On 25 May, the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto, conducted by Emilio Pomarico, will perform the Portuguese premiere of Franco Donatoni’s (1927 – 2000) Esa (In cauda V) in Oporto as part of the Casa da Música’s 2012-2013 concert season.
Esa, Donatoni’s last work, was composed during his final illness and is dedicated to his pupil Esa-Pekka Salonen who commissioned the piece at the time he was musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Salonen conducted the world premiere of the work (posthumously) on 16 February 2001.
As its title reveals, the piece is the fifth in a series of compositions for orchestra that began in 1982.
From 20 to 24 May (three times a day: at 16.55, 22.55 and 1.00 in the morning) it will be possible to listen - on Radio France’s programme ‘Alla breve’ - to five fragments of Lorenzo Pagliei’s Infiniti Relativi. The composition, commissioned by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, was recorded on 22 April under the direction of Jean Deroyer.
The broadcast of the entire piece together with an interview with the composer will be premiered on Sunday 26 May and will be available on the site in podcast form for about one month.
Infiniti Relativi – as the composer explains – is divided into five movements that follow each other without interruption. At the beginning and the end of each movement, there reappears the same originating chord projected in a different manner – a kind of big bang – and every movement passes on to the following movements a certain number of essential elements that create the connective structure beneath the musical form.
Pagliei undertook his studies in music (piano, electronic music, composition and orchestral conducting) in Italy. He went on to do advanced courses in music with Gérard Grisey, Helmuth Lachenmann, Henri Pousseur and Philippe Leroux. He was selected by the Comité de lecture at IRCAM in Paris and in 2005/6 he held a scholarship from SACEM. He currently teaches electronic music at the Vicenza Conservatory ‘Arrigo Pedrollo’ in Italy.
On May 16, Marco Stroppa’s Ay there’s the rub, for cello, will be performed for the first time in Luxembourg by the soloist Jean-Guihen Queyras. The concert will take place at the Philharmonie, Salle de Musique de Chambre, as part of the Musiques d’Aujourd’hui.
In Cologne on May 5 will take place the German premiere of The skin of the onion for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussions by Mauro Lanza. The composition will be performed by the Garage Ensemble under the baton of Mariano Chiacchiarini.
On 27 April in Germany, 23 years after the German premiere in Bremen in 1990, the Mittelsächsisches Theaters will perform Charlotte Corday, Lorenzo Ferrero’s opera in three acts on a libretto by Giuseppe Di Leva. Charlotte Corday, which was commissioned by the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, was performed for the first time on 21 February 1989. On that occasion the stage direction was by Mario Martone and the conductor was Roberto Abbado.
The Mittelsächsisches Theaters have prepared a major production with a total of 9 performances. These are scheduled to take place in Döbeln (27 April and 5 May) and Freiberg (14, 17, 26 and 30 May and 1, 4 and 7 June). The Mittelsächsische Philharmonie will be conducted by Jan Michael Horstmann. The stage direction is by Judica Semler.
The fifteen short movements of Alberto Colla’s Symphonie des Prodiges (2012) seek to respond to the hunger for stimuli and novelty that characterizes many of today’s listeners, bombarded as they are by the mass media and less and less inclined to devote their full attention to music. To try to re-engage with the modern public, Alberto Colla brings into play in Abaculi a highly distinctive compositional technique: “microform mosaic pieces” which are short sonoric and thematic ideas. Colla uses these to continuously stimulate the curiosity of the listener because they are so close to his experience of everyday life.
The world premiere of Symphonie des Prodiges, written for the same orchestral forces as Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, will be performed at the Centre Culturel Saint-Ayoul in Provins (France) on April 20. It will then go on tour with performances throughout the French regions, culminating in a performance at the Salle Pleyel in Paris (April 28).
The Orchestre National d’Île de France will be conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
Niccolò Castiglioni’s Inverno in-ver for small orchestra will have its Australian premiere on April 20 in Melbourne. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of da Thomas Adès, will perform the work as part of the series Metropolis New Music Festival..
Local premiere for Salvatore Sciarrino in Baku (Azerbaijan) on April 16. Introduzione all’oscuro for 12 instruments, will be presented at the Staatsfilharmonie by the Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble under the baton of Reinbert de Leeuw.
On 14 April the Teatro Giacosa in Ivrea will host the world premiere in scenic form of Elena, a tragic opera drawn from the Greek myth by Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis and with music by Azio Corghi. The composer has given voice to the character of Hecuba by way of a mixed choir of 12 voices. The actresses Elena Russo Arman (in the role of Helen) and Sara Urban (Medea) are accompanied by the vocal ensemble Calycanthus under the direction of Pietro Ferrario. The stage direction is by Alessia Gennari. The performance in Ivrea is the fruit of an intense, week-long advanced study program-workshop at the Accademia Perosi in Biella aimed at producing and launching the opera. The participants include the Departments of Philosophy and the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Università degli studi in Milan and the Università degli studi in Genoa.