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Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway received a new critically acclaimed staging by Yuval Sharon at Frankfurt Opera in September. The following month Neuwirth’s Lost Highway Suite landed in New York and was given a strong US premiere by International Contemporary Ensemble.

When Olga Neuwirth’s 2002/2003 opera Lost Highway was staged by Frankfurt Opera and directed by Yuval Sharon in September, international press flew out to cover this impressive operatic adaptation of David Lynch’s cult film favorite. The broad consensus among American critics was that the work was a triumph and that Neuwirth’s music deserves a much larger presence in the United States.

The LA Times exclaimed, “It is a near-operatic scandal that Lost Highway has never been produced in L.A.” Musical America lamented, “The evening I spent with Oper Frankfurt’s production (September 19) proved to be so engrossing, so provocative in all the right ways, that the neglect of her fascinating body of work seems all the more outrageous—and our loss all the more to be pitied.”

The opera was broadly praised for its brilliant, evocative score and skillful handling of the unusual plot. The LA Times called Lost Highway “a work of dramatic genius,” and further raved, “What Neuwirth, who was 35 when she composed the opera, has added—with an elaborately haunting 90-minute score for a virtuosic new music ensemble, electronics, actors and singers—is atmosphere galore.” Frankfurter Rundschau called it “a manifesto of contemporary, vital musical theater” and exclaimed that “the entire operation is a miracle in precision.” Musical America remarked that “Oper Frankfurt’s production shows how increasingly relevant Neuwirth’s work is becoming.”

Following the smashing success of Frankfurt Opera’s September production was the premiere of Neuwirth’s revised Lost Highway Suite for six instrumental soloists and ensemble. The suite was performed at EMPAC, a performance arts center in Troy, New York, by the adventurous International Contemporary Ensemble. The New York Times praised the work, calling it “as effectively mysterious as the most memorable, identity-obliterating sequences of Mr. Lynch’s film.”

LA Times
“a magnificently mysterious opera … a work of dramatic genius.”

“What Neuwirth, who was 35 when she composed the opera, has added — with an elaborately haunting 90-minute score for a virtuosic new music ensemble, electronics, actors and singers — is atmosphere galore.”

“Throughout it all, the role of the orchestra grows from a ravishing Lynch-like dreamscape to intricate, phantasmagorical complexity where new music abstraction, Kurt Weill and Monteverdi are all at supernatural home.”

Musical America
“The evening I spent with Oper Frankfurt’s production (September 19) proved to be so engrossing, so provocative in all the right ways, that the neglect of her fascinating body of work seems all the more outrageous—and our loss all the more to be pitied.”

“a theatrical experience that is grippingly novel and unexpected.”

“Oper Frankfurt’s production shows how increasingly relevant Neuwirth’s work is becoming.”

Frankfurter Rundschau
(translated from the original German)
“A manifesto of contemporary, vital musical theater”

“The entire operation is a miracle in precision.”

Die Deutsche Buhne
(translated from the original German)
“You have to tip your hat at this excellent musically interpretive but also technological performance. It has rarely been possible to disappear like this into the soundscapes of contemporary musical theater.”

>  Further information on Work: Lost Highway

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