Battistelli: World Premiere of LOT in Hannover Battistelli: World Premiere of LOT in Hannover

Posted by Ricordi 21 March 2017

Based on a story from the Book of Genesis, LOT, the latest opera by Giorgio Battistelli (with libretto by Jenny Erpenbeck), makes its world premiere at the Staatsoper Hannover on April 1. More performances will be staged there throughout the months of April and May. Orchestra and choir conducted by Mark Rohde. The opera is directed by Frank Hilbrich. 

We recently had the chance to ask the composer a few questions. Here’s what he had to say. 

Lot is your new opera, based on a story from the Book of Genesis. Actually, the episode is rather harsh, and laden with strife. Which of the characters had the biggest impact on you?  
The story of Lot and his daughters is one of the rawest and most unsettling of all the Bible stories told by the monotheist religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the opera I wanted to highlight a couple of “unexpected” guests: the two seraphim, which is to say, two of God’s warrior angels. They call out the apparent equilibrium existing in Sodom and Gomorrah. They are the destabilizing force, and remind me of the guest in Pasolini’s Teorema. When they come to town they are met with the inhabitants’ ire, the people want to kick them out. But Lot defends them and offers the two refuge in his home. There the two seraphim tell Lot and his family to pack up and leave town, because it is about to be destroyed. And, of course, as they go they must not turn around to see what is happening.  

The theme of your last opera, CO2, which was performed at La Scala, was global warming and a potentially devastating future for our planet, and mankind along with it. What kind of message are you trying to get across with Lot? 
I went back to the Book of Books in search of the basic creed of all faiths: that hospitality is sacred. Whoever comes knocking at our door is always sent by God. Being afraid of that stranger may be a very human reaction, but confrontation is inevitable. The exodus we’re seeing today has something biblical about it. To me, the story of Lot is very much connected to the sense of disorientation we’re experiencing today. It’s a reality we’re hard-pressed to interpret, it’s undergoing constant transformation. It’s a period of our civilization in which we cannot stop – we’ve got to move forward and try to get through it, despite all the pain. 

With respect to your earlier works, such as Divorzio all’italiana, or the comic opera Il medico dei pazzi, how would you say your musical language, as well as the themes explored, has changed over time?  
The way I compose is heading more and more in the direction of relational writing, where there’s rebounding and expressive bridges that connect heterogeneous dimensions. I’m fully convinced that today heterogeneousness is no longer seen as something disorienting. Instead, it’s an objective part of our reality, it’s something we have to deal with. That means that traditional as well as avant-garde dogma is finished.

LOT an opera in three acts (in German)
Commissioned by Staatsoper Hannover 
Libretto by Jenny Erpenbeck
World Premiere: Staatsoper Hannover, April 1, 2017
Orchestra and Choir of the Staatsoper Hannover
Conducted by Mark Rohde – Directed by Frank Hilbrich 
Lot (Baritone), Daughter 1 (Dramatic Soprano), Daughter 2 (Mezzosoprano), Lady (Contralto), Two Angels (Tenors), 
Abraham (Bass), Sarah (Mezzosoprano), Isaac  (8-year-old child, walk-on), God (Baritone), Citizen 1 (Tenor), Citizen 2 (Bass Baritone), Female Citizen (Soprano),  Mixed Choir
Instrumentation: picc.2.2.cor.i. 2. bcl.3 / timp. perc (3) piano harp / strings
Duration: 90’

Read the full score

Find out more about Giorgio Battistelli

Photo: Jörg Landsberg

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