Libretto by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, after 'Oceane von Parceval' by Theodor Fontane (G)
S,colS,M/A,T,2Bar,B; mixed chorus;
3(III=picc).2.corA.3(III=bcl).3(III=dbn)-18.104.22.168-timp.perc(3):crot/t.bells/gong/5wdbl/5tpl.bl/5tom-t/cyms/susp.cym/Chin.cym/sizzle cym/anvil/tgl/plate bell/lg tam-t(with cym); chimes/whip/SD/BD; wind machine-2harp-cel-strings; on-stage: Ebcl-cnt.saxhorn-pft-vln.db; 2bells
The “mysterious woman from the sea”, vainly attempting to fit into human society, was a source of inspiration for writers, composers and artists alike throughout the 19th century. Theodor Fontane, too, tried his hand at the subject matter: Oceane von Parceval, a fragment of an unfinished novella, was just one of his attempts to encapsulate in the form of Melusine the sense of menace and fascination felt by a bourgeois, male-dominated society faced with femininity coupled with an archaic, erotically permissive artlessness. With Fontane, Oceane’s inability to sympathise with human destinies serves to amplify her alien nature. She is indifferent to death and love alike, and as such her attempt to have a relationship with a young landowner, Martin von Dircksen, is doomed to failure. For 2019, Fontane’s bicentenary, Detlev Glanert and Hans-Ulrich Treichel are continuing a collaboration that began with Caligula in 2006 and have written an opera based on this fragment.
Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2018
“…well-crafted vocal lines, superb orchestration, clear dramatic shape and descriptive sound-painting.” — Shirley Apthorp, Financial Times, 30 Apr 2019
“The applause of the audience was almost frenetic for a premiere, because Glanert knows how to set maritime themes to music: Water is his element, so to speak, and here he plays to his strengths ... At last a world premiere which will surely be replayed soon.” — Peter Jungblut, Bavarian Radio, 29 Apr 2019
“The music, performed with unconditional commitment by Donald Runnicles, is atmospheric magic, effective without becoming banal, precise and composed to the point ... one of the most successful new operas of recent times.” — Udo Badelt, Der Tagesspiegel, 30 Apr 2019