Battistelli: WP of WAKE in Birmingham

Battistelli: WP of WAKE in Birmingham

On March 14, the Birmingham Opera Company Orchestra and the Birmingham Opera Company Chorus and Actors present the world premiere of Wake, the new opera by Giorgio Battistelli, with book by Sarah Woods. Graham Vick directs the performance, Jonathon Heyward conducts the orchestra. Repeat performances: March 17, 18, 19 and 20.

Wake is an opera inspired by the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus in the New Testament. It was commissioned by the Birmingham Opera Company, a truly special theatrical organization founded by director Graham Vick in the late 1980s. With the aim of bringing opera to as broad a segment of the public as possible, and getting an entire city involved, over the course of the years the Birmingham Opera Company has recruited volunteer participants of all ages. The development and preparation for Wake began more than eighteen months ago.

Battistelli Wake image

Wake begins with the death of Lazarus, and the desperation of Martha and Mary, which becomes an echo of the injustice and unhappiness of man’s lot. But when Lazarus is brought back to life by Jesus, he is no longer able to cope with the reality he’d left behind. The celebration of his return is haunted by the despair over his non-return. Everything has changed, nothing is as it once was. Only in the end, in a boat surrounded by a sea of people telling their own stories, does Lazarus regain hope and his own humanity thanks to the solidarity among the desperate. 

Wake by Giorgio Battistelli
Libretto by Sarah Woods
3 (II also picc., III picc.).1 (also cor.i.).5 (I Picc. in Mib, II in Sib e La, also Picc. in Mib, III bcl., IV dbcl. also bcl.). 2 (II dbn.). / tu. wag. 1. / 2 acc., 4 perc., 2 grand piano, harp, guit. /
Lazarus, tenor; Jesus, bariton; Martha, mezzo soprano; Maria, soprano
8 soloist voices (SSAATTBB) - chorus SSAATTBB – actors
Duration: 75’

Also this month: Slated for March 16 is the world premiere of Battistelli’s Exforma 2, a symphonic piece commissioned by the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto (OPV). As this year’s composer-in-residence for the orchestra, Battistelli will be giving a series of lectures as part of OPV’s 'Lessons in Sound' cycle, which has run for a number of years. In conjunction with the University of Padova, he’ll be focusing on the theme of “unlimited narration and conception”. From March through November of this year, OPV, under the direction of Marco Angius, will be presenting several of Battistelli’s works: lnventis facile est addere, Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, The Cenci, The Embalmer and Sconcerto. The 'Lessons in Sound' series will be recorded live by the Italian television broadcaster Rai5.

Composer photo: Roberto Masotti - Wake image: Jonathan Perkin