Wagner Dream - Opera in nine scenes

(2006)

by Jonathan Harvey

Description
soloists, actors, chorus and ensemble of 22 players with electronics
Duration
105
Genres
Electronics with Live Performers, Opera
Text
Jean Claude-Carrière
Instrumentation
1(=picc, afl + bfl).1(= oboe d’amore).2 cl in Bb & A (II=bcl).1(=cbsn) - 1.1(=rainstick).1.1 - perc(2): mar/crot/t.bells/2 Tibetan bells/2 gong/cym/ tam-t/spring coil/vibraslap/guiro/maraca/microtonal mark tree/glass chimes/ bamboo cluster/mark tree/susp.cym/SD/4 tom-t/BD/4 wdbl//3 bowls/ 2 high drums/tgl - harp - elec keyboard - 4 vln.2 vla.2 vlc.db - electronics, Electronics (3 operators): 8 or 6 channel system/digital mixer/ 1 (or 2) Mac computers with soundcards/Lemur {or Wacom} Graphic Tablet/ 16 MIDI faders/Clip-on mics for all instruments and several close mics for percussion ->submixers->main/optional radio mics for the actors and singers, depending on whether the ensemble is in a pit or more 'present'. The pit is preferable, acoustically/CD-ROM
Singer(s)
Singers: Vairochana (B)/Ananda (T)/Prakriti (S)/ Mother of Prakriti(M)/Buddha (Bar) Old Brahmin(B); pit chorus (4 singers - SATB)/ stage chorus (2 singers - TB), Actors: Wagner/Cosima/Betty/Dr. Keppler/Carrie Pringle
Languages
English
Commission
Commissioned by De Nederlandse Opera and Holland Festival, Amsterdam, Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg and IRCAM Paris
First Performance
28.4.07, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, Luxembourg; soloists of The Netherlands Opera/Ictus Ensemble/IRCAM/Martyn Brabbins
Availability

Vocal score 0-571-52209-2 on sale, libretto, full score and parts for hire. For the electronics, contact the hire library (hire@fabermusic.com) for onward referral to IRCAM 

Programme Notes
Wagner Dream was commissioned by De Nederlandse Opera and Holland Festival, Amsterdam, Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg and IRCAM Paris. At the heart of this opera is the clash of two cultures. Late, highly charged romanticism with its paradigm of finding knowledge through emotional intensity fused with deep psychology and mythic regression, on the one hand. And on the other hand the new and old world of Buddhism and oriental thought with its detachment, its clear analysis of happiness and suffering in terms of mind. Perhaps this latter is the future, and the Wagner world is what we are coming from. John Cage comes after Wagner… It is an interesting fact that Wagner, most egotistical and most complex of men, was yet one of the few who knew anything about Buddhism in his time – he contained, as in so many respects, a fusion of opposites. Yet it is not a contradiction in Buddhist tantric terms; that is to say, there is a possibility to understand the sufferings caused by attachment through understanding with skill the very nature of consuming attachment. But it is a delicate and easily misunderstood bridge. Wagner meditated deeply on compassion, and in Parsifal created a bodhissatva figure, a Buddha in becoming. Yet Wagner’s racialism, nihilism and hatred of the world, frequently expressed, distort Buddhist philosophy in this work too. Only in the scenario of Die Sieger, never taken further, do we find a ‘truly noble’ Buddhist subject. The clash of the two cultures is expressed in the opera by a speaking level for Wagner in Venice and a singing level for ‘Die Sieger’ in the Buddha’s India. The death-process and all its strange inner landscapes are suggested by electronic transformation. This also has the function of unifying two cultures, two aspects of Wagner, two time and space worlds in the ‘one’ which is beyond illusory dualism. The work is a fantasy, based on fact but following it way beyond what is known. Jonathan Harvey

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