Composition Commission issued to José Maria Sánchez-Verdú: Dramma in musica ARGO

Friday, April 27, 2018 sees the opening of the 67th festival season of the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele with the premiere of the musical theater production ARGO under the heading “Übergänge” (Transitions).  The Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele have been organized since 1952 by the SWR, the City of Schwetzingen and the Rhein-Neckar district. The opening opera ARGO is a work commissioned by the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele, funded by the EvS Music Foundation and produced with Staatstheater Mainz.

The myth is well known – with Jason at the helm the legendary Argo sets sail in order to steal the Golden Fleece from Colchis. On board are 50 heroes including Orpheus and the lesser known character Butes. When the Sirens try to overcome the Argonauts with their song, Orpheus protects the men with his own singing. Only Butes – magically drawn by the sounds of the Sirens – dives into the waves. Jumping into the water as a symbol for that search for the unknown, a search that includes failure, indeed his own death. For the composer José Maria Sánchez-Verdú antiquity and the history of the Mediterranean as an historic and geographic location are always reference points of his composition: mare nostrum, the Mediterranean – an ambivalent place, redolent on the one hand of the search, of departures to new shores and, on the other, in the present day also a symbol of catastrophes, war and death. Indeed Sánchez-Verdú so often refers to the area in composition terms. His aim is to take up the movement of travel, the sea and its motions in poetic concentration. A key component of the musical and scenic concept is the live electronics that extend the space tonally and keep the listeners in motion as auditive ship’s passengers.

Under the musical guidance of the composer directed by Sabrina Hölzer it will be possible to see Jonathan de la Paz Zaens (Butes), Alin Deleanu (Orpheus), Brett Carter (Odysseus), Stefan Bootz (Jason) and Maren Schwier (Aphrodite), the SWR Symphony Orchestra and the Choir at Staatstheater Mainz perform. The text was written by lyricist, dramatist, essayist and translator Gerhard Falkner who was nominated for the German Book Prize with his novels Apollokalypse and Romeo oder Julia in 2016 and 2017.

April 27, 2018
Rokokotheater, Schloss Schwetzingen

Further Performances:
May 20 & 26 and June 2 & 6, 2018
Staatstheater Mainz, Kleines Haus

Further Information: