Café Museum - Die Erleuchtung (1993)Duration: 75 minutes
Chamber opera in two scenes for singers, chorus and 14 instruments
Libretto by Wolfgang Bauer (G)
3S,M,T,Bar,4B; chorus; fl(=picc).ob.cl.bsn(=dbn)-pft-accordion-2vln.vla.vlc.db.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
Hans Hoffer, director
Conductor: Mladen Tarbuk
Company: Musikschule Deutschlandsberg
|BOSCO OF MALTA, private scholar, madman||Tenor|
|STAR WHORE / WAITRESS||Soprano|
|TORQUATO SAGENHAFT, a poet||Baritone|
|RINGEL, a painter||Bass|
|THE DOUBLE SISTERS: HEIDE 1 and HEIDE 2||Soprano and Mezzo Soprano|
Time and Place
In the Café Museum
The action is not easy to be described, as for two thirds of its course it represents a kind of chaotic dream world. The poet Torquato Sagenhaft may seem to step innocently into the Café Museum, but soon he realises that he is inside a room which, although optically concrete, has no time nor logic at all. (The room drives through the air; an entry fee is collected; in the Sezession building next door, a dinosaur exhibit flies through the air; a parliament is placed in a billiard room adapted as a sauna etc.) The medium for illumination is a private scholar, a certain Bosco of Malta, whose words one would first classify as 'mad'. He states, that people are continuously omitting light, and in general bursts of 'theories' (which are obvious only to himself) about the connections between the world, reality, sciences, and philosophies. In the course of this amalgamation process, which they have to work through, the shadow-like characters (about 10 persons and a choir) feel an increasing impulse for logic, a strong need for reality – simply, for birth.
Finally, in a general 'attack' caused by Bosco, this imaginary and perhaps invented or dreamed room 'illuminates' itself and its characters. We suddenly are in the entirely real Café Museum; all seems to be true, even vulgar... Only Bosco of Malta holds on to his theories... and is heartily laughed at. "Do not underestimate time; it will vanish again very soon, you are going to be astonished!", he says beneath the chattering – and indeed, a sudden and quick ageing process (drastically illustrated by the music) starts for all the characters, as well as for the coffee house itself – finally a general deathly state is reached which brings us back to the same mood as at the very beginning of the opera. Everything perishes, everything decomposes, the coffee house rots more and more – only Bosco of Malta sits lively and happily with his wine and his newspaper and sings his 'madness aria'. Wolfgang Bauer