|Opera by Jörg Widmann|
The composer in 2006
|Premiere||27 October 2012|
Bavarian State Opera, Munich
Babylon is an opera in seven scenes by Jörg Widmann, with a libretto in German by Peter Sloterdijk. The opera describes life in a multi-religious and multi-cultural metropolis. It was premiered by the Bavarian State Opera, conducted by Kent Nagano, on 27 October 2012.
Background and performance history
The stage work Babylon was written by Jörg Widmann on a commission by the Bavarian State Opera.[a] The opera was composed from 2011 to 2012. Librettist and composer were not held to any restrictions. The librettist Peter Sloterdijk describes life in a multi-religious and multi-cultural metropolis, the rise and fall of an empire.
The Bavarian State Opera presented the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Babylon, conducted by Kent Nagano on 27 October 2012 in National Theatre Munich. The production was directed by Carlus Padrissa (La Fura dels Baus).
The first performance of Widmann's Babylon Suite, a commission of Grafenegg Festival and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, took place on 21 August 2014 in Grafenegg under the direction of Kent Nagano. The Babylon Suite is the concertante version of Widmann’s opera.
The premiere of Babylon was reviewed critically by several newspapers. The New York Times noted, that Widmann's hard work received a major forum, that Sloterdijk's libretto is overstuffed and often inscrutable, and the production is extravagant. Die Zeit wrote about an indifferent libretto, a monstrous score and old men's lust (Altherrenerotik), Süddeutsche Zeitung about howling wind players, opulent pictures and strange music. Die Welt wrote: "alphabet soup of sound salad: orgiastic, bombastic" ("Buchstabensuppe an Klangsalat, orgiastisch bombastisch.").
|Role||Voice type||Premiere cast, 27 October 2012|
Conductor: Kent Nagano
|Inanna||high soprano||Anna Prohaska|
|Die Seele (The Soul)||high soprano||Claron McFadden|
|Priesterkönig (priest-king)||bass-baritone||Willard White|
|Euphrat||dramatic mezzo soprano||Gabriele Schnaut|
|Skorpionmensch (scorpion-man)||countertenor||Kai Wessel|
- Woodwinds: 4 flutes (all doubling piccolo, 3rd doubling alto flute, 4th doubling bass flute), 4 oboes (2nd doubling oboe d'amore, 3rd doubling cor anglais, 4th doubling heckelphone), 4 clarinets in B♭ (2nd doubling clarinet in E♭, 3rd doubling bass clarinet, 4th doubling double bass clarinet), 4 bassoons (3rd and 4th double bassoon)
- Brass: 4 horns (doubling 4 natural horns), 4 trumpets, 4 trombones (3rd and 4th doubling bass trombone or contrabass trombone), tuba
- Strings: 14 violins I, 12 violins II, 10 violas, 8 cellos, 8 double basses (4 of them 5-stringed)
- Percussion: 4 players, timpani
- 2 harps, celesta, accordion, piano, organ
The opera is about the conflicts that arise from the love of the exile and jew Tammu to the Babylonian Inanna, priestess in the temple of free love.
- "In Front of the Relics of the Walls of a Ruined City"
- "Within the Walls of Babylon" (duration: 45 min)
Tammu falls in love with Inanna.
After the flood, peace and order will be achieved between heaven and earth through a human sacrifice.
- "The New Year Festival"
- genitalia septets
- monkey septet
An orgiastic, carnival-like New Year festival with processions, cabaret numbers, and excesses begins. The jews concider this as blasphemy.
- "At the Waters of Babylon"
The jews reflect about their religion. They try to tolerate some of the sacrificial practices. Tammu is selected by the Babylonian priest-king to be sacrificed.
- "Babylon Idyll, Night Music for Hanging Gardens"
- "The Feast of the Sacrifice"
Tammu is sacrificed.
- "Inanna in the Underworld"
Inanna rescues Tammu from the underworld.
A new covenant with humankind, based on number seven, replaces the old sacrifice.
- "The constellation of the Scorpion"
- Jörg Widmann, List of Published Works. Mainz: Schott Music. September 2012. p. 9. ISMN 979-0-001-18462-5.
- "Babylon (Score)". Schott Music. 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- Bruhn 2013, p. 169.
- Loomis, George (6 November 2012). "Carnal Knowledge in a Modern Metropolis: Babylon". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- Bruhn 2013, pp. 170.
- Büning, Eleonore (29 October 2012). "Fette Zeiten in alten Städten". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Frankfurt. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Jarolin, Peter (22 August 2014). ""Babylon-Suite" von Jörg Widmann uraufgeführt". Kurier (in German). Vienna. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Woolfe, Zachary (15 April 2013). "On Clarinet, the Composer". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Dick, Alexander (29 October 2012). "Bayrilonisches Sprachengewirr". Badische Zeitung (in German). Freiburg. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- Koch, Juan Martin (28 October 2012). "Die "Zauberflöte" für das 21. Jahrhundert ist noch zu schreiben: "Babylon" von Jörg Widmann und Peter Sloterdijk an der Münchner Staatsoper". nmz online (in German). neue musikzeitung. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- Weber, Mirko (31 October 2012). "Tuttifrutti". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Mauró, Helmut (28 October 2012). "Jubel für den babylonischen Untergang". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). München. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Brug, Manuel (28 October 2012). "Die "Große Hure" aus der Megacity". Die Welt (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Powell, Andrew (23 November 2012). "Widmann's Opera Babylon". Musical America. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Collins, Adela Yarbro (2000). Cosmology and Eschatology in Jewish and Christian Apoocalypticism. Brill. ISBN 90-04-11927-2.
- Bruhn 2013, p. 173.
- Bruhn 2013, p. 171.
- Camilleri, Jenny (5 June 2017). "Stenz conducts an impressive Babylon at the Holland Festival". bachtrack.com. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
- Bruhn, Siglind (2013). Die Musik von Jörg Widmann (in German). Waldkirch: Edition Gorz. pp. 169–192. ISBN 978-3-938095-16-4.
- Zuber, Barbara (2013). "Verschiebung und semantische Überschreibung. Der Doppelchor der Juden in Jörg Widmanns Babylon (Bild 5)". In Tadday, Ulrich. Jörg Widmann, Musik-Konzepte 166 (edition text+kritik) (in German). München: Richard Boorberg Verlag. pp. 55–78. ISBN 978-3-86916-355-0.