HANS THOMALLA (b.1975): Fremd.

Catalogue Number: 11O097

Label: col legno

Reference: WWE 2SACD 40403

Format: CD

Price: $23.98

No Longer Available

Description: Fremd is on one level an opera that tells the story of part of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts; an introductory scene recounts various episodes and introduces the characters, then the main action concentrates on the part of the story that concerns Medea and the tragic, and ultimately murderous, results of her love for Jason. Various textual sources are used, including that of extracts from the libretto of Cherubini's opera on the subject. The conflict between Medea's 'barbaric' world and the Greek's ordered, 'civilized' one is used by the composer as a metaphor for conflicts between order and chaos, the rigid conventions of opera and the lack of structure in real life, man-made structures and the natural world, and so on. The deliberate breakdown of the division between performing space and audience space is an important part of this; instrumental groups are placed around and within the auditorium, performers move around on and off stage, and electronically generated or transmuted spatial effects are employed to this end. The score is fragmentary, with distorted quotations from earlier music (including the Cherubini, and the traditional lullaby 'Hush Little Baby', broken up and reassembled not quite right, to rather chilling effect), vocal lines fractured by sound projection remote from the singers performing them, and even the big 'aria' that functions as the dramatic dialogue between Medea and Jason accompanied by fractured instrumental gestures and interjections. Reading through the libretto while listening suggests something of a conventional narration of highlighted scenes from the story; listening without reading - or presumably being a member of the audience at a production - produces a quite different effect. The composer lays out his intentions and methods in a lengthy interview transcribed in the booklet, which explains the symbolism behind the thematic, semantic, and acoustic manipulations in the score. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Annette Seiltgen (soprano), Stephan Brock (bass), Soloists of the Stuttgart State Opera Chorus, Stuttgart State Orchestra; Johannes Kalitzke.

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