• Niels Marthinsen
  • Skriftestolen (2006)
    (The Confessional)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • 3(2pic).3(2ca).3(ebcl.2bcl).3(2cbn)/4331/timp.2perc/syn/str
  • SATB
  • 2S, Boy S, MS, A, 2 Bar, 2T, 2B
  • 2 hr 5 min

Programme Note

Opera in two acts.

Libretto by Kerstin Klein-Perski derived from a short story by the danish writer Christian Winther (1796-1876), in Four Stories, 1843

The Music:
Straight-in-your-face emotional music that immediately grabs everybody’s attention; bold modernism next to Spanish folklore, American minimal music, and melodies and grooves from main stream pop music welded together into a highly personal musical language. Brilliant command of passionate expressionism and of different musical styles makes The Confessional a compelling, searching study of the opera’s main character’s failure to hold back her inner demons when confronted by her husband’s betrayal and by a fundamentalist religious society governed by doubledealing pragmatism.

Time and Place:
An isolated provincial town in Andalusia, summer, imaginary present.

The Confessional is about passion, power, and betrayal. A woman from England, Gabi White, has married Miguel, a somewhat younger spanish count. For the first time in her life she has chosen love and passion instead of career and selfcontrol.

Gabi is haunted by her past: Her father ruined her life by dominating and being unfaithful to Gabi’s mother and by trying to bring up Gabi to be a ruthless egoist. Gabi arrives in Andalusia where Miguel lives with his mother, the countess dowager, to meet her husband in her new country. But her marriage is a fraud: Miguel is fond of Gabi but has only married her to satisfy the demands of the family and the church. By overhearing his confession Gabi discover that Miguel is doing it with another man, the american architect Julian who is renovating the city’s cathedral.

The city has a leadership vacuum: The young count isn’t interested in money and power, but is preoccupied with the renovation of the cathedral. The countess dowager understand that Gabi is a potential new head of the family. By showing Gabi how much power she can have by staying in spite of Miguel’s deceit the countess dowager persuade her to stay in Andalusia. And Gabi stays, but seizes control in her own way: She murders the architect – her twisted past has taken control of her. Miguel is devastated, but the church and the family condones what Gabi has done and celebrates the consecration of the newly renovated cathedral with Gabi as the center of the ceremony.

GABI WHITE, the new countess from England, married to Miguel: Soprano
RACHEL, lady’s maid employed by the Torres del Montila family: Soprano
JULIAN, the American architect: Tenor
FADER DANIEL, the Torres del Montila family’s confessor: Bas
MR. WHITE, Gabi’s father: Bas
THE DOCTOR, the Torres del Montila family’s physician: Tenor
MRS. WHITE, Gabi’s mother: Mezzo-soprano
A CHOIR BOY: Boy Soprano
Chorus of townspeople, workers, nuns, monks, people from Gabi’s past

View Score