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Atompilz vor gelbem Hintergrund

Commission to Ondřej Adámek

Oper Köln (DE)

Ondřej Adámek has been commissioned by the Oper Köln to create the large-scale choral opera INES. INES – the acronym for the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Rating Scale – centres on a couple inspired by Orpheus and Eurydice who are torn apart by a nuclear catastrophe and pushed to the limits in different time, world and sound spaces. INES is conceived as a large, full-length choral opera in a prologue and five pictures, with 40-80 choral voices, also divided into different subgroups. The chorus accompanies the two main parts, O. and E., as well as four other solo female voices. All the music takes place in the entire space of the StaatenHaus, on stage as well as between spectators, where mobile groups of singers and instruments are placed.

The Orpheus myth, which with Monteverdi's L'Orfeo founded the form of opera itself, inspired the Czech composer Ondřej Adámek and the librettist and director Katharina Schmitt to their second joint work. O. is filled with an irrepressible grief, for his lover E. is dead. He can no longer hear her, no longer remember her face and would prefer to become a shadow himself. It is one of the most touching love stories – the story from ancient Greek mythology of Orpheus, who loses his beloved Eurydice to the realm of shadows, but succeeds in conquering plants and animals, even the gods, with his song and brings Eurydice out of the underworld. On his way back to the light, Orpheus, despite a prohibition, turns to Eurydice and loses her a second time. Between absolute silence and deafening noise, atomic winter and heat, glaring light and absolute darkness, the characters in INES sing about human limits and the difficulty of overcoming them. Ondřej Adámek lets us hear how the voice and all human senses are changed by the nuclear accident, how O. finds his way from a speaking to a singing voice and E. disintegrates into the sea of voices in the afterlife. The unity of place and time also seems to be dissolved, the lovers separated from each other forever. For while O. is in the linear time of the living, E. is absorbed in the timelessness of the dead and must watch her body become an immobile and transparent shell.

The commission of Ondřej Adámek for the Oper Köln is made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

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June 16, 20, 22, 26 and 28, 2024
Oper Köln, Staatenhaus