New Productions

SIRENEN - BILDER DES BEGEHRENS UND DES VERNICHTENS
(Sirens - Scenes of Desire and Destruction)

Rolf Riehm
* 1937
Opera in three parts and eight scenes
Libretto by the composer, based on Homer's Odyssey, Karoline von Günderode, Isabelle Eberhardt, and others
Commissioned by Oper Frankfurt
Sung in German with German surtitles

Duration: c. 1 3/4 hrs, without interval

About the work

A passionate twist to the Odyssey, something which could happen to anyone at some point in their life. When nothing promises safet ...
A passionate twist to the Odyssey, something which could happen to anyone at some point in their life. When nothing promises safety, nothing can be trusted any more, but is real. Circe, knowing she must let her beloved Odysseus leave, devises a plan. She sends his ship past the sirens, knowing all too well that his survival will inevitably mean their death.
»The main theme in the opera« said the composer, »is Odysseus, his encounter with the goddess Circe and the mesmerising, lethal, song of the sirens. I would be delighted if my music could make it clear that we, like Circe, the sirens and Odysseus, could also find ourselves in danger when caught up in conflicts of love, betrayal, leave taking and desire.
Rolf Riehm has been fascinated by the myth of the sirens for a long time.
The process leading to the first performance of this opera has been an unusual experiment for us. For the last three years the composer, director, dramaturges, team and colleagues have worked closely together, exchanging ideas and thoughts about how the music and staging grow together.

Synopsis

Background : During his journey home Odysseus spent a year on Circe's island of Aiaia as her lover. Before continuing on his way s ...
Background : During his journey home Odysseus spent a year on Circe's island of Aiaia as her lover. Before continuing on his way she told him how not to fall victim to the sirens. His crew, their ears stuffed with wax, bound him to the mast, allowing him to hear the sirens' song while sailing safely past, enabling him to return, one day, to his beloved. But Odysseus never went back, and so knew nothing about their son, Telegonos.
The work: Circe mourns the loss of her love and devises a desperate plan: if Odysseus does not return she will meet her mortal lover again in the next world, in the „Land where the Living speak to the Dead“. She raises her son and sends him out into the world, armed with the spear his father left behind. Telegonos reaches Ithaca, mortally wounding – without realising it – his father, Odysseus (speaker). They sense kinship and Telegonos accompanies Odysseus on his journey to death. But Odysseus does not want to die until he has heard the sirens' words of wisdom. When he first drew near to them he heard only their song. He returns, in his thoughts, to the sirens' rocks, trying to come face to face with these dangerous creatures and discover the truth about the world. The spear in his body causes his voice, which wants to tell Telegonos about how to learn the truth about the world, to fail him. He fights against death and the shadows of the underworld. His body fails him. Driven, obsessed, he sends his soul, the other voice within him (countertenor), to the sirens only to discover that the only truth he could have been told is his own death: a bitter realisation, that he refuses to accept. After the death of his body (speaker) Odysseus (countertenor) enters the „Land where the Living speak to the Dead“. Circe is waiting in eager anticipation of the longed for reconciliation. But Odysseus is still searching for a truth he hopes to snatch from the dying away sounds of the sirens. The woman waiting for him, means nothing to him.


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Frankfurt Patronatsverein (Patrons) - Sektion Oper
Performances

Sunday 21.09.2014 19:30 h

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Cast

Conductor
Martyn Brabbins
Director
Tobias Heyder
Stage Designer
Tilo Steffens
Costume Designer
Verena Polkowski
Lighting Designer
Joachim Klein
Video
Christina Becker
Dramaturgy
Wolfgang Willaschek
Mareike Wink

Kirke
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Odysseus (young)
Lawrence Zazzo
Odysseus (old)
Michael Mendl
Telegonos
Dominic Betz
Sirens
Annette Schönmüller
Sarah Maria Sun
Frauke Burg
Britta Stallmeister
Barbara Zechmeister
Maria Pantiukhova *
Jessica Strong*
Nina Tarandek

Oper Frankfurt's Orchestra


* Member of the Opera Studio

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