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DISCOVER YOUR LOVER - You were my charm and all delight to me!

Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)
AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL - Amelia all ballo
Opera buffa in one act
A chamber music version by Massimiliano Matesic
In English with German surtitles
Text by Gian Carlo Menotti
World premier of the English version: April 1, 1937, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

Samuel Barber (1910-1918)
A HAND OF BRIDGE
Opera in one act for four solo voices and chamber orchestra
In English with German surtitles
Text by Gian Carlo Menotti
World premier: June 17, 1959, Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
TROUBLE IN TAHITI
Opera in seven scenes
In English with German surtitles
Text by Leonard Bernstein
World premier: June 12, 1952, University of Waltham/Massachusetts

 

The focus of the three short operas are individuals in search of love and affection in the face of passionless marriages; packed with mendacity and unspoken affairs, distractions, distance and alienation - relationship problems à la "Desperate Houswifes." We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to follow through with the production despite all odds and allow our voice students to perform for the board of examiners on December 18 and 19, 2020.

In the spirit of entertainment, Menotti's opera buffa Amelia Goes to the Ball gives us an insight into the glamorously snobbish big-city life of a fine lady around 1890, according to the program booklet for the premiere in 1937. Amelia is the diva par excellence - the queen of the night! Her greatest wish is to go to the ball of the season. To achieve this, she does not shy away from putting her husband and even her lover at risk.  The many catchy and light numbers like the Duettino and the Romanza reminisce of late works by Verdi and Puccini. The love triangle is additionally typical of character constellations from the Italian commedia dell'arte.

Less comical, but all the more profound.... In the 15-minute musical theater A Hand of Bridge, Barber and Menotti reveal to us, in a Freudian manner, the unspoken, emotional world and the innermost desires of two unhappily married couples who meet regularly to play bridge. Refrences to close relatives and acquaintances of the composer and librettist as well as a personal connection to the subject matter of their short opera are unmistakable; The "Pokerface" was also part of their lives. For several years they had an intense relationship, both as artists and in private. However their partnership was not a public issue as homosexuality was not yet socially accepted in the 1950s.

Bernstein - "the torn genius" (title of a 2018 ARTE documentary) - also struggled with social expectations and ideas of what a 'perfect husband' or 'perfect marriage' should be like at the time. He wrote Trouble in Tahiti during his honeymoon, an opera that deals with relationship problems, escape into consumption and media, and as such into lies and silence. According to his daughters, Jamie and Nina Bernstein, the work further reflects the composer's inner conflict. It is a caricature of American suburban life, materialism, and the ideal family of the 1950s, and shows that fragility often hides behind a beautiful facade. Dinah and Sam have everything their hearts desire. They are living the American dream, yet they are estranged. It's a fate that Bernstein shared in some ways. He was married, had three children and loved his wife. At the same time, he was attracted to men. When he left his family in 1976 to live with musicologist Tom Cothran, his bisexuality became public. A year later, his wife contracted lung cancer. He returned to her and spent the remaining months of their lives with her. A final reconciliation of the two failed to materialize. However at the end of his short opera Trouble in Tahiti, there is a glimmer of hope for reconciliation, and it is the jazzy musical sounds rather than the tragedy of the plot that remain in the memory.

 

Performances

Fri Dec 18 2020 | Sat Dec 19 2020 

AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL 3.30 p.m. - A HAND OF BRIDGE and TROUBLE IN TAHITI 6 p.m. | WOLFGANG HOFFMANN SAAL | UNIVERSITY OF MUSIC FREIBURG 

 

Contributors

AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL
Amelia | *Theresa Immerz, **Isabel Weller
Amelia's Husband | Malte Kebschull
Amelia's Lover | Pierre Arpin
Amelia's Friend | Mareike Zorko
Maid 1 | Franziska Scheinpflug
Maid 2 | Miriam Stelzer
Maid 3 | Daniela Zib
Chief of Police | Johann Kalvelage
Policeman 1 | Timm Schuhmacher
Policeman 2 | Quang Nguyen

A HAND OF BRIDGE
Sally | Julia Hilpert
Bill | Raphael Lehnert
Geraldine | Maren Charlotte Herten
David | David Severin

TROUBLE IN TAHITI
Sam | Lorenz Kauffer
Dinah | *Julienne Mbodje, **Alina Kirchgäßner
Trio | Daniela Zib, Timm Schuhmacher, Quang Nguyen

* Performance on the 18.12.2020
** Performance on the 19.12.2020

Orchestra of the University of Music Freiburg

Musical director | Scott Sandmeier°
Musical assistant | Clément Nonciaux°°
Musical assistant | DonKuk Lim
Musical assistant | Paul Drouet°°°
Director | Alexander Schulin
Stage | Fabian Lüdicke
Choreographie | Emma-Louise Jordan
Asstant director, production manager and stage manager | Julia Terwald
Costume and makeup | Yvonne Forster
Makeup | Aline Manyas, Faye Ryan
Subtitles | Julia Terwald
Technical director | Christof Burger
Light and Tech | Juhani Brutschin, Julia Gitta Weuffen, Phillip Reister, Nass Musemakwerki
Stage | Jenny Herman

°Conducted the performance on 18.12.2020 und Trouble in in Tahiti am 19.12.2020
°°Conducted Amelia goes to the Ball on 19.12.2020
°°°Conducted A Hand of Bridge on 19.12.2020

Bildergalerie

Gian Carlo Menotti –
AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL

 

  • Isabel Weller (Amelia)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia)
  • Theresa Immerz (Amelia)
    Theresa Immerz (Amelia)
  • Miriam Stelzer (Maid 2)
    Miriam Stelzer (Maid 2)
  • Franziska Scheinpflug (Maid 1)
    Franziska Scheinpflug (Maid 1)
  • Mareike Zorko (Amelia's Friend)
    Mareike Zorko (Amelia's Friend)
  • Theresa Immerz (Amelia)
    Theresa Immerz (Amelia)
  • Isabel Weller (Amelia) and Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia) and Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband)
  • Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband)
    Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband)
  • Theresa Immerz (Amelia) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Theresa Immerz (Amelia) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Isabel Weller (Amelia)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia)
  • Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Isabel Weller (Amelia), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Theresa Immerz (Amelia), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Theresa Immerz (Amelia), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Quang Nguyen (Policeman 2), Theresa Immerz (Amelia), Franziska Scheinpflug (Maid 1), Miriam Stelzer (Maid 2), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband), Mareike Zorko (Amelia's Friend), Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1), Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Quang Nguyen (Policeman 2), Theresa Immerz (Amelia), Franziska Scheinpflug (Maid 1), Miriam Stelzer (Maid 2), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband), Mareike Zorko (Amelia's Friend), Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1), Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Isabel Weller (Amelia), Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia), Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1), Malte Kebschull (Amelia's Husband) and Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover)
  • Johann Kalvelage (Chief of Police)
    Johann Kalvelage (Chief of Police)
  • Isabel Weller (Amelia)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia)
  • Franziska Scheinpflug (Maid 1) and Daniela Zib (Maid 3)
    Franziska Scheinpflug (Maid 1) and Daniela Zib (Maid 3)
  • Johann Kalvelage (Chief of Police)
    Johann Kalvelage (Chief of Police)
  • Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1), Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover) and Mareike Zorko (Amelia's Friend)
    Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1), Pierre Arpin (Amelia's Lover) and Mareike Zorko (Amelia's Friend)
  • Theresa Immerz (Amelia), Johann Kalvelage (Chief of Police) and Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1)
    Theresa Immerz (Amelia), Johann Kalvelage (Chief of Police) and Timm Schuhmacher (Policeman 1)
  • Isabel Weller (Amelia), Quang Nguyen (Policeman 2)
    Isabel Weller (Amelia), Quang Nguyen (Policeman 2)
  • Theresa Immerz (Amelia)
    Theresa Immerz (Amelia)

Fotos: Rainer Muranyi

Samuel Barber –
A HAND OF BRIDGE

 

Fotos: Rainer Muranyi

Leonard Bernstein –
TROUBLE IN TAHITI

 

 

  • Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
    Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
  • Alina Kirchgäßner (Dinah)
    Alina Kirchgäßner (Dinah)
  • Alina Kirchgäßner (Dinah)
    Alina Kirchgäßner (Dinah)
  • Julienne Mbodje (Dinah)
    Julienne Mbodje (Dinah)
  • Daniela Zib (Trio)
    Daniela Zib (Trio)
  • Quang Nguyen (Trio)
    Quang Nguyen (Trio)
  • Timm Schuhmacher (Trio)
    Timm Schuhmacher (Trio)
  • Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
    Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
  • Julienne Mbodje (Dinah)
    Julienne Mbodje (Dinah)
  • Alina Kirchgäßner (Dinah), Daniela Zib (Trio), Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
    Alina Kirchgäßner (Dinah), Daniela Zib (Trio), Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
  • Julienne Mbodje (Dinah), Daniela Zib (Trio), Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)
    Julienne Mbodje (Dinah), Daniela Zib (Trio), Lorenz Kauffer (Sam)

Photos: Rainer Muranyi

 

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