Photo: Neda Navaee


Composition Commission issued to Sarah Nemtsov: Ophelia

Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken, Germany

With the support of the EvS Music Foundation the Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken is commissioning the German composer Sarah Nemtsov with a major work of musical theater entitled Ophelia based on the tragedy The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare. The German, multiple award-winning author Mirko Bonné will be joining forces here with Sarah Nemtsov to produce an abridged and condensed version of the original English drama in German and various other languages. English excerpts will be re-translated and their content used to re-tell the story. The basic dramaturgical idea is to re-cast the material from the perspective of a multiply duplicated Ophelia who does not simply accept her fate but develops alternative conflict resolution models around herself. The various Ophelia figures play out different narratives, sometimes ones that diverge from the original drama: escape, drowning, failure etc. The spotlight here is not merely on one single fate but on an archetype of femininity that changes down the ages. The shift in dramatic focus from Hamlet to Ophelia is already reflected in the title of the opera. Ophelia is to provide a symbol for female destinies from all perspectives and her rebellion is to be understood as a topical theme, amongst others within the semantic fields of “suicide”, “water”, “escape” and “securing one’s existence”. Thus, Ophelia is to have many different voices and voice subjects and her role is to be divided among different singers in different languages. The premiere at the Saarländisches Staatstheater will lead the way to further performances of Ophelia at other theaters. After its premiere in May 2023 “Ophelia” is to be performed in at least 6 further subscription performances, thus forming part of the regular, large music theater program season. Held in parallel to this will be theater pedagogical projects and a symposium on current European music theater. Within the context of the production, further compositions by Sarah Nemtsov in fields like concert, Lied and chamber music will be included in the program, which will be presented as an “Artist in Focus” feature at the Saarländisches Staatstheater in the 2022/2023 season.

May 6, 2023
Saarländisches Staatstheater

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