Kaija Saariaho: La Passion de Simone

Kaija Saariaho: La Passion de Simone
© Ralph Mecke
La Passion de Simone, by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, is to be premiered on November 26, in Peter Sellars' Festival "New Crowned Hope" in Vienna. Further performances in this festival will take place on November 28 and 30, all at 20:00 in the Jugendstiltheater.

Premiere: 26.11.06 20:00
Performances: 28.11.06 20:00, 30.11.06 20:00
Location: Jugendstiltheater, Vienna
Category: Music Theatre/Dance
Music: Kaija Saariaho
Text: Amin Maalouf
Conductor: Susanna Mälkki
Director: Peter Sellars
Costumes: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting: James F. Ingalls
IRCAM Computer sound design: Gilbert Nouno
Soloist: Dawn Upshaw
Dancer: Michael Schumacher
Text spoken by Dominique Blanc
Orchestra: Klangforum Wien
Choir: Arnold Schoenberg Chor
Conductor: Erwin Ortner

In French, with German and English surtitles

World Premiere

Commissioned by New Crowned Hope, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, Barbican Centre, London, Los Angeles Philharmonic
A co-production of New Crowned Hope, Barbican Centre, London, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York

The French philosopher Simone Weil spent her brief life fighting against social and economic injustice and spiritual blindness. She fought for clarity, for rights and responsibilities, for moments of truth in herself and in the world. She put her own body on the line for her beliefs. First, on the assembly line in a Renault factory, because she considered the dehumanization of work to be one of the greatest crises of her time. Her constitution was not up to the grinding labor. She had to be hospitalized repeatedly. Then she volunteered as a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. Late in her life she was one of the few Jewish refugees offered safe haven in America who returned to Nazi-occupied France. Eventually she worked for the Free French Government in London, preparing a paper on how to rebuild Europe after the war. She starved to death in 1943 in a small hospital outside of London because she refused to eat more food than her fellow countrymen in the death camps. Gradually her writings began to circulate and be published, and her reputation as one of the great figures of the 20th century continues to grow.

Amin Maalouf has written a text which invokes her name and summons her spirit into our moment in time. He has outlined a ceremony of remembrance, fifteen stations of the cross in the difficult life of an impossible and tender woman. Kaija Saariaho's music, sung by the vibrant and fearless Dawn Upshaw, with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, and played by Klangforum Wien, takes us into a realm of the spheres where instrumental, vocal, and electronic sounds mingle intimately and dissonances melt into a universe of harmonic longing.

http:// New Crowned Hope Festival

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