Emilie by Saariaho

Emilie by Saariaho

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In Kaija Saariaho ‘s new monodrama, Émilie (an opera in 9 scenes), we travel through the life story of Émilie du Châtelet — a life notable for her devotion to math, sciences and intellectual study, and the love and admiration of French philosopher, Voltaire. The libretto in French by Amin Maalouf, Saariaho’s frequent artistic partner, is composed in the form of letters to Voltaire, Saint-Lambert and her own inner dialogues. Émilie is portrayed by Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, for whom the work was composed and is conducted by Kazushi Ono.

The third opera by Saariaho, Emilie, was commissioned by Opéra de Lyon which presents the premiere performances beginning March 1, 2010, in a production by Francois Girard. Subsequent performances
take place in Amsterdam with the Dutch National Opera.
1, 4, 7, 10, 13 March

Please click here for further details about Emilie from Opéra de Lyon

Émilie du Châtelet is pregnant by her young lover, the poet Saint-Lambert, and soon to go into labour. She writes him a letter full of reflections and premonitions. It is one day since she finished her translation of Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, four days before she will give birth to her daughter and nine days before she herself will die. She thinks not only of the nights of passion with Saint-Lambert and with Voltaire, her great love, but also of the end of their love and of death. How will she be remembered?

The weekend of January 16 marked the beginning of Saariaho’s residency at Casa da Música in Porto. Artistic Director António Jorge Pacheco has planned four features on Saariaho’s music including performances of her orchestra and ensemble music. Saariaho will also participate in seminars and masterclasses with professional musicians and student composers.
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Picture credit (c) Priska Ketterer

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