World Première of the Opera Slow Man at maltafestival poznań 2012!
Slow Man, the first opera in John Maxwell Coetzee's oeuvre is an adaptation of his novel. "Rather than closely following the original story, Slow Man, in its form of contemporary opera evokes and accentuates the poetry of the inner reflections of three of the main characters", the composer told us. The opera is focused around a meeting arranged by the writer Elisabeth Costello between Paul Rayment, a man in his sixties whose life changes dramatically after a cycling accident which leaves him with an amputated leg, with the blind Marijana. “Paul does not know what to expect of this meeting. A tension arises. Rayment and Marijana suddenly behave like puppets in a form of trance, set up and directed by Elizabeth Costello. The scene is exceptionally intimate, also due to the sexual act which eventually might take place. A minor event in the novel becomes a starting point for reflection upon alienation, love, old age and fear of dying. It is an opportunity to look deep into the thoughts and premonitions that occupy the minds of the three characters. During the première staging of the opera we will hear Mark S. Doss as Paul Rayment, Lani Poulson as Elizabeth Costello and Claron McFadden as Marijana. Their performance will be enhanced by two dancers and upstage video projections.
John Maxwell Coetzee (b. 1940), the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and two-time winner of the Booker Prize, was invited to work on an opera by Belgian composer Nicholas Lens (b. 1957), a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, former member of the National Orchestra of Belgium and of the Israël Sinfonietta in Be’er Sheva. Nicholas Lens studied violin, trumpet, double-bass and viola de gamba and started composing music at 15. His work (most well known is the trilogy The Accacha Chronicles including Flamma Flamma, 1994; Terra Terra, 1999; Amor Aeternus, 2005) is published by Schott Music International, Mainz, Germany. Time magazine wrote: "Nicholas Lens' work, thanks to its visceral strength and sustained emotional drive has won a loyal audience and critical favor". Together with Nick Cave (as lyricist) Lens is preparing a commission called Shell-Shock, A Requiem of War to premiere in October 2014 as official commemoration of the Great War. As well he prepares a second opera with J. M. Coetzee, a chamber opera this time about Elizabeth Costello.
The Orchestra of the Grand Theatre in Poznań will be conducted by Marek Moś (b. 1956), an outstanding Polish violinist and conductor, the winner of numerous awards, including the Contemporary Music Competition, Krakow (1979), the International UNESCO Rostrum, Paris (1984, 1988) and the Association of Polish Composers (1994). In 1998 Marek Moś founded the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of which he is the artistic director. AUKSO has worked with some of the most renowned contemporary composers, recently with Krzysztof Penderecki on the reinterpretation of some of his pieces by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead and top techno artist Aphex Twin. Following its première at the European Culture Congress in Wrocław, the concert 48 Responses to Polymorphia was played at the Barbican Centre in London and the featured pieces were recorded on the prominent Nonesuch label.
The director of Slow Man the opera is Maja Kleczewska (b. 1973), a highly acclaimed and one of the most provocative Polish artists whom critics have dubbed a rebel and experimenter. She majored in theatre directing at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow and in psychology at the Warsaw University. During her studies she worked with Krzysztof Warlikowski and as Krystian Lupa’s assistant at Stary Teatr (the Old Theatre) in Krakow. She won great acclaim for her productions of Büchner’s Woyzeck (2005); Shakespeare’s Macbeth (2004), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2006) and The Tempest (2012), and Racine’s Phèdre (2009). In 2010 Maja Kleczewska directed Zubel’s Between and Nowak’s Sudden Rain at the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw. In 2007 she received the Polityka magazine Paszport Award in the Theatre category for “her uncompromising albeit wise inclusion of a contemporary sense of insecurity into classical storylines and for her pictorial imagination that provides for the construction of fascinating worlds on stage.”