Francesconi: Premieres at La Scala and Royal Opera House

Francesconi: Premieres at La Scala and Royal Opera House

Two important premieres are coming up for Luca Francesconi in June: First, Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the world premiere of the orchestra piece Dentro non ha tempo at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Second, the Royal Opera House in London will present a new production of his opera Quartett. Click here for more information and a video trailer about Quartett.
World Premiere at La Scala
On June 14 Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro alla Scala in the world premiere of Francesconi’s new work Dentro non ha tempo at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The composition was commissioned by La Scala for a cycle of works in memory of Richard Strauss, whose 150th anniversary of birth takes place on June 11. Luca Francesconi comments on his work:

"Dentro non ha tempo is a curious title that can be read in three ways. In the first place, it refers to the feelings I have in remembering Luciana*, to the intensity of the affection and admiration that tied me to her. For me Luciana remains a powerful, living presence, in fact, a presence without time. 

Secondly, there’s a reference to the tie that Luciana had with a great musical tradition, made up naturally by family connections, but also by all her own activity; this great tradition is for me the past that has no time. 

Finally, the title alludes to the form of the composition. Conceived as a kind of portrait, the piece has at its center, like a beating heart, a slow movement based on the dilation and treatment in a spectral sense of a number of bars drawn from the beginning of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (of the overture and from the extraordinary chromatic coda that follows the death of the Commendatore) where time is blocked and suspended; hence, a movement without time."

*Luciana Pestalozza worked as head of the publishing department at Casa Ricordi for many years. She also founded the international contemporary music festival Milano Musica.

Francesconi’s Quartett at Royal Opera House

Luca Francesconi’s opera Quartett is based on Heiner Müller’s play after Pierre-Ambroise-François Choderlos de Laclos’s novel Les Liaisons dangereuses. The world premiere of the opera took place in 2011 at the Teatro alla Scala in a production directed by Fura dels Baus. Since then, Quartett has been performed in Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Oporto, Strasburg, Lille, and Lisbon, and further performances are scheduled for 2015.

The London production (UK Premiere on June 18, 2014) is directed by John Fulljames, Associate Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House. John Fulljames comments:

“As soon as I heard Quartett for the first time, I knew it was a piece which we had to stage in London. It offers a new vision of opera as a total art-form, with a vastly expanded sonic universe and a transformed relationship with its audience - who are forced into the role of active participants rather than passive listeners. This really is an opera of the future.  

Luca Francesconi immerses his audiences completely in the world of the opera through his integration of live and recorded sounds; and his writing demands a completely new way of singing, with a much wider range of colours and sounds than have traditionally been used in an opera house. 

Whilst the unremittingly bleak Heiner Müller play is set amidst the Cold War with an overwhelming sense that no life will continue beyond the protagonists’ bunker; Luca's fascinating interpretation makes it is clear that the universe will continue to live and breathe long after humans have become extinct. The apocalypse is re-imagined; it is no longer a nuclear catastrophe but rather one around climate change and uncontrolled population growth.

Consequently, the opera gains new philosophical depth as we see humanity in the context of far stronger forces which reduce us to the microscopic. It is this range of scale – from the macroscopic to the microscopically cellular which makes this opera unique.  

Our challenge as a production team is to put the whole universe on stage; to stage the end of the West and the end of the world. The opera manages to indict a civilisation built on the gratification of pleasure, whilst at the same time delving into the smallest intimacies of the relationship between two people who yearn to be lovers. Like all great opera, it is both emotional and political and presents a rich challenge and provocation to audiences and artists alike.”

Francesconi's work list