Author Topic: South Pole (2016)  (Read 484 times)

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Online Rinaldo

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South Pole (2016)
« on: August 14, 2016, 11:19:26 AM »
Miroslav Srnka's new opera South Pole, which premiered in January at the Bayerische Staatsoper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUQT156T_Ac

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The opera tells of the simultaneous expeditions to the South Pole undertaken by two competing teams: the British, led by Robert Scott (Rolando Villazón), and the Norwegian, led by Roald Amundsen (Thomas Hampson).

(...)

The music of the opera works on the basis of superimpositions, overlaid in all sorts of different ways. The two narrative strands come closer and closer together, almost meeting at the South Pole and then moving apart again. For certain moments, there is "concrete" music: Both expeditions had taken gramophones along to entertain them. Scott's signature tune is the "flower aria" from Carmen (in the recording by Enrico Caruso), and Amundsen's is "Solveig's Song" from Peer Gynt; both of these can also be heard in the opera in the original recordings. Other significant moments with particular sound constructions are the moments when the participants in Scott's mission are freezing and dying.

The score is over half a metre in height. This format indicates how many tonal layers Srnka has overlaid; the printed pages come in poster size - otherwise it would not have been possible to show the many separate orchestra parts (100 independent parts are quite common, with each violin or each cello playing a separate part) in any legible form. The Bayerisches Staatsorchester will be about the size of a Strauss orchestra. In his composition, Miroslav Srnka has given the sledge dogs and ponies their own voices using six horns and six clarinets. Another leading role is played by the percussion, with such unusual instruments as cowbells, marimbas, a vibraphone and a glockenspiel. The score even makes use of standard kitchen appliances: Sometimes the string players are actually plucking the strings of egg slicers.

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: South Pole (2016)
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 09:14:35 PM »
Thanks. Saved to a 'watch later / 21st century file.

Should, I suppose, be added to that small list of operas which use only male voices!
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Online Wendell_E

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Re: South Pole (2016)
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 03:13:10 AM »
Should, I suppose, be added to that small list of operas which use only male voices!

Not according to the synopsis at the  Bayerische Staatsoper website:

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In the second part, during which the South Pole is reached, the women whom the expedition leaders have left behind (Tara Erraught as Kathleen Scott and Mojca Erdmann as the "Landlady", Amundsen's lover) appear as visions.
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: South Pole (2016)
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 01:57:48 PM »
Not according to the synopsis at the  Bayerische Staatsoper website:

Ahh, then not!  A dramatic device, and a planned relief from the other timbrel palette.
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

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