Opera today – Composition Commission issued to György Kurtág
Salzburger Festspiele, Austria
It has always been a key focus of the Salzburg Festival to send out signals in the field of contemporary music – which is why current Director General Alexander Pereira is very keen on living up to this tradition. As well as incorporating present day works into the concert program, facilitating and promoting new tendencies in the field of music theater has to be a prime focus.
It must therefore be a task of this, the world’s largest festival, not only to preserve the past in an exemplary manner but also to pave the way for the future. For this reason, commissions for four operas have been issued for 2013 to 2015 (to premiere between 2013 and 2016). These are aimed at composers whose previous work proves what music of our day can achieve but who have only rarely (or not yet at all) explored the genre of opera within their music. With the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation in 2014 one composition commission has been issued to György Kurtág who, at the age of 85, is writing an opera for the first time now. Samuel Beckett’s Endgame serves as the literary basis here. Like in all of this author’s works, human existence is presented as a borderline situation caught between life and death.