Operatic monodrama ‘Emilie’ by Kaija Saariaho receives German premiere

Operatic monodrama ‘Emilie’ by Kaija Saariaho receives German premiere
Kaija Saariaho
© Maarit Kytöharju

On May 11, the German premiere of the opera Emilie by Kaija Saariaho takes place at Staatstheater Mainz, featuring the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz conducted by Hermann Bäumer, with stage direction by Immo Karaman.

The opera, composed to a libretto by Amin Maalouf, explores the life and work of Emilie du Châtelet, delving into the various facets of her character, which encompass her indulgent pursuits of romantic affairs, jewellery, and games of chance as well as her profound affinity for knowledge and scientific inquiry.

In contrast to operas with multiple protagonists, where dramatic tension arises from their interactions, Saariaho had to adapt the musical narrative for this monodrama. She says: ‘I have crafted a portrait, trying to make it as rich and alive as possible, the contrasts arising within this single being.’

Emilie will be portrayed by sopranos Julietta Aleksanvan, Alexandra Samoulidou and Maren Schwier, along with dancer Bettina Fritsche.

Commissioned by Opéra de Lyon, Barbican Centre, London, and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Emilie premiered in Lyon in March 2010, with soprano Karita Mattila in a production directed by François Girard.

For more information, please see the website of Staatstheater Mainz.

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