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Detlev Glanert: Süss opera premiere |
Detlev Glanert ’s new opera, Joseph Süss, received its premiere to great acclaim at the Bremen Theater on 13 October, conducted by Rainer Mühlbach and staged by Tilman Knabe. Scored for seven principal singers, chorus and chamber orchestra, this powerful opera tells the true story of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer, amidst the political, financial and sexual intrigues of the 18th century Württemberg court. He rises to a powerful position within the court, supporting the Duke in his corrupt pursuits, but becomes enmeshed within a conspiracy hatched by his rival. After a failed coup d’état the Duke suffers a fatal stroke, and ‘Jew Süss’ becomes a scapegoat for the wrongs of the state, is tried in secret, and executed in Stuttgart before the assembled populace.
"The fate of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer provides history with an example of latent antisemitism in Europe – the Nazis misappropriated this story in a perfidious propaganda film. Glanert and his librettists consciously closed the circle. "My opera reacted to a story that took place in 1738… yet one must and should reflect the German situation between 1933 and 1945." Detlev Glanert, born in 1960, is in the front rank of those suited to this task, succeeding in balancing on the precarious tightrope walk between the stereotypical ‘coming to terms with history’ and allusions to the contemporary era. Take it for granted, at this near sell-out world premiere, that the pupil of Hans Werner Henze exercises his audience energetically with sudden harmonic changes and percussive insistence, punching holes in the historical patina with sharp-pointed sonorities, razor-sharp instrumentation and occasional electronic effects… Their breath taken away, the Bremen audience responded with sustained applause." Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung quot t;[The opera] carries such contrasting elements that it makes Glanert’s musical score sound ever more gripping, more varied and more appealing. There are lyrical, transparent and chamber music-like passages alongside piercing, keenly sharpened sound masses; soft, melodic singing lines alongside angular interval leaps and sprechgesang of approximate contour; skilful and atmospheric ensembles are set against rhythmic murmurs and the collective outcry. But going beyond such stylistic qualities are Glanert’s witty play with form, quotation and collage, without which his characteristic individuality would be incomplete… the audience responded with unanimous cheering and bravos." Opernwelt
"This work by one of the most important of developing opera composers is audience-friendly and ideally suited to the theatre. The opera managers who were present will take this message back to their own houses." Der Tagesspiegel
Joseph Süss continues in the repertoire of the Bremen Theater and a second production of the opera opens in Regensburg on 5 March. Glanert’s future projects include a comic stagework for the Halle Opera, and new works for the London Sinfonietta and the Bavarian State Opera orchestra.
Read more about Joseph Süss.
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