Elena Kats-Chernin: The Rage of Life in Antwerp
The Rage of Life, an opera by Igor Bauersima and Elena Kats-Chernin, receives its premiere by Flemish Opera on 24 April, opening in Antwerp and travelling on to Ghent and the Rotterdam Opera Days in May. The work is also featured at the Miskolc Opera Festival on 18 June. The staging is a co-production with the Staatsoper Stuttgart, with the German premiere following in a future season. The librettist and director is the much-performed Swiss playwright Igor Bauersima, best known internationally for his play Norway Today.
The Rage of Life examines the contemporary theme of how young people become alienated by the world, seeking an alternative life in an unknown environment. In this tragi-comedy halfway between the youthful yearning for real life and a stunning disregard for death, the protagonists’ radical rejection of the status quo in society plays an important role: the main dramatic motif is the attempt by young people to escape from a world they experience as corrupt. The heroes of The Rage of Life flee from a land of shadows that has long lost all connection with reality, to a life which they know for certain exists – even though they have never been there before.
Leif (18) reacts with cool denial to the news of the death of his great love Helena (19). The bringer of this bad news witnesses no sorrow or despair, but is treated with scorn. Leif runs off, and makes himself scarce. He knows where Helena has hidden from the world, and she is alive. And he does find her, at their ‘place’ near the mouth of the river. But Helena has now become singularly unapproachable, and wants to go away for good...
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Kats-Chernin’s recent orchestral highlights include performances of Ornamental Air by clarinettist Michael Collins with the West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, following performances in the USA, UK and Sweden. Last autumn also brought the world premiere by the Melbourne Symphony and Paul Daniel of Re-collecting ASTORoids, an orchestral suite inspired by the music of Tango Nuevo master Astor Piazzolla.
Kats-Chernin’s music continues to be heard on TV and at the cinema with the long-running Lloyds TSB advertising campaign For the journey… employing the Eliza Aria from her ballet Wild Swans.
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