Following the success of Kaija Saariaho’s first opera L’Amour de loin, her second opera Adriana Mater receives it world premiere in Paris on 30 March at the L’Opera Bastille, with a run of seven performances continuing through April. This new production sees Saariaho again joining forces with long-time collaborator and librettist Amin Maalouf and stage director Peter Sellars. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts this original story as conceived by Saariaho and Maalouf. “Adriana Mater is set in a country at war,” Maalouf shares. “Although none is specified by name, one might think of any province in the Balkans during the last years of the 20th-century. Adriana, a jovial and passionate young woman, is the victim of a rape. Her aggressor is not an enemy combatant, but a man from her own community. The unborn child has inherited both the victim’s blood and the torturer’s, and Adriana anxiously wonders whether her son will be Abel or Cain. This anxiety haunts her throughout her pregnancy and during the childhood of her son, Yonas. The moment of truth comes when Yonas, grown into a young man, learns that his father — his mother’s aggressor, who had fled — is back now that the war is over.” The principal roles are sung by mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon and bass-baritone Stephen Milling. Adriana Mater receives its US premiere in the summer of 2008.
Saariaho, Maalouf, and Sellars continue their collaborative efforts with the oratorio, La Passion de Simone, which will be presented at Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival in Fall 2006, and later in Los Angeles and New York City. Described as a “musical path in 15 stations,” the work explores the story of French philosopher Simone Weil through a work of remembrance: 15 “stations of the cross” in her difficult life, and features Dawn Upshaw as soloist.
Adriana Mater 120' French libretto by Amin Maalouf Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Bass-Baritone; SATB 3(II=pic:III=afl)33(bcl)2(cbn)/4431/4perc.timp/hp.2pf(cel)/str