Testament, the new work for voice and orchestra by Mark-Anthony Turnage, sets poetry from Ukraine and is premiered under the baton of Kirill Karabits.
Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new work for soprano and orchestra, Testament, is premiered on 7 November by Natalya Romaniw and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kirill Karabits. The Ukrainian conductor suggested a work relating to his homeland, soon after the siege of Donetsk Airport, and the project developed as described by the composer:
“I decided to write a score focused on themes of displacement, conflict and the particular political history of Ukraine which has often suffered oppression under the Russians. I found this great poem by Serhiy Zhadan and set out to find other Ukrainian texts to surround it. Then I discovered Vasyl Stus who is highly rated in his homeland which led back to Taras Shevchenko and his celebrated poem Testament that was also set by Prokofieff. The four texts span the Imperial, Soviet and modern eras and I’ve employed a few Ukrainian folk songs to underpin the work.”
The vocal part of Testament can be sung in English translation or in the original Ukrainian. The German premiere follows in Weimar on 9 December with the Staatskapelle conducted by Kirill Karabits.
Turnage’s chamber opera for family audiences, Coraline, based on the dark fantasy by Neil Gaiman, is travelling internationally after its premiere by The Royal Opera in London. The production by Aletta Collins received its German premiere at the Theater Freiburg in June and reaches the Opéra de Lille next month. Other highlights this season include the US premiere of his orchestral work Remembering in November with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons, and the UK premiere of Symphonic Movements with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Carlos Kalmar in February.