Inside the theatre, however, Andreas Kriegenburg’s direction and Harald Thor’s set designs summoned an entrancingly chilled world of snowflakes and ice-flowers, of cold blue light, dazzling white-outs and howling polar wildernesses.
A formidable battery of percussion instruments (glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone and bells among them) join harp, woodwind and glittering strings. The choruses and arias, meanwhile, rise to moments of sumptuous lyricism that complement the precise, crystalline tone-colours elsewhere.
The Economist – 31.12.2019
Bayerische Staatsoper, Det Kongelige Teater, Barbara Hannigan and everyone else involved.
The Snow Queen wins together with Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando.
Every year since 1994, Opernwelt sponsors a jury of 50 critics to select the best of the season, in several categories.
★★★★★★ It is 'The Snow Queen' as you know it from H. C. Andersen’s fairy tale – and yet not so. Because Hans Abrahamsen’s grasp of Andersen’s universe is so highly sensitive – and that has resulted in a poetic opera in a class of its own.
One can say that Abrahamsen in his musical rendition of 'The Snow Queen' has created a poem out of the fairy tale. It reaches poetic depths with impressive sound colours, in much the same way that Abrahamsen does in his work ‘let me tell you’, which has made the Danish composer world famous. There are many layers in Andersen’s fairy tale, but even more in Abrahamsen’s music.
Jakob Wivel, Børsen – 21st October 2019
★★★★☆ The work’s greatest triumph, and the thing that will draw listeners back again and again, is the music. Abrahamsen’s score is a work of obsessively fine detail, of immense complexity calibrated to sound beguilingly simple, of silvery, perfumed lyricism overlaid with hallucinatory effects. Everything sounds both familiar and strangely warped. There are delicate references to familiar works — Strauss, Mahler, Bach, Wagner — more like snatches of memory than quotes; but just when things seem about to become recognisable, Abrahamsen will bend away from pure tonality to warp a note or twist an interval, to stab or spike through an arpeggio, to hurt us just enough to make us come back wanting more. It is a strange and wonderful thing.
Shirley Apthorp, Financial Times – 15th October 2019
❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ The music falls into majestically long phrases and shines like ice crystals in Hans Abrahamsen’s opera ‘The Snow Queen’. He does not shy away from high C’s and Wagnerian sea spray, as he unfolds the theme of ‘snow’ in his life’s most monumental work.
Thomas Michelsen, Politiken – 15th October 2019