Elysium: World premiere of new opera by Rolf Wallin
25th February 2016
"Wallin’s music is put together with a jeweller’s precision…"
Elysium, a new opera by Rolf Wallin, receives its premiere at Norwegian National Opera in Oslo on March 12. Wallin has collaborated with playwright Mark Ravenhill on this large-scale work to create a story set a several generations from the present day, using ideas contributed by Simen Svale Skogsrud. The production is directed by David Pountney, with set design and costumes by Leslie Travers. Baldur Brönnimann conducts.
The opera takes place in a world free from war, violence and environmental destruction. It is populated by a new species of transhumans who communicate without words via an electronic chip in their throats, avoiding the many misunderstandings created by the verbal and non-verbal communication of humans. Only a small colony of humans remains, kept on an island under strict security, as a reminder of the origins of transhumanity. The story follows two women – one human, the other transhuman – who each long to experience the other’s existence.
About Rolf Wallin
Norwegian-born Rolf Wallin is one of the leading Scandinavian composers of his generation, with a musical background that spans jazz, avant-garde rock, early music and a traditional classical training. Much of Wallin’s music combines an intuitive freedom with a rigorous mathematical approach, such as in his 2010 orchestral piece Manyworlds, which draws analogies between music and quantum physics. Many of Wallin’s pieces are notable for the way in which they connect directly with the world around us; for example Act (2004), a celebration of the power of cooperation, Concerning King (2006), based on speech patterns from Martin Luther King, and Strange News (2007), which tells the story of the rehabilitation of child soldiers in Africa. Under City Skin (2009) for solo viola, strings and surround sound and Fisher King (2011), a trumpet concerto for Håkan Hardenberger, have both received multiple performances across Europe.
An opera in two acts by Rolf Wallin, with a libretto by Mark Ravenhill
Commissioned by Den Norske Opera, Oslo
March 12, 14, 17, 19, 29, 31, April 2 2016
Norwegian National Opera, Oslo
Rolf Wallin Music
Mark Ravenhill Libretto
David Pountney Director
Baldur Brönnimann Musical Director
Leslie Travers Set design and costume
Linus Fellbom Light design
Jack Bradley Dramaturg for the Librettist