Opera for 6 singers, 5 on-stage musicians, male choir, orchestra, electronics and video.
After a traditionally set dinner-scene, we follow Don Giovanni to hell.
Part opera fiction, following Mozart's character as he dives into what turns out to be the underworld of opera, part coma dream, entering the subconscious of the opera singer after hitting his head in the fall through the trap door.
In opera-hell we traverse through 400 years of opera history guided by Multistopheles, comprised by all the Mephistopheleses, Plutos and devils in company of all the daemons, damned, evil and otherwise hell-bound characters of the repertoire. We also traverse through the hidden and dark parts of the opera house through video excursions, using images of the off-stage areas as virtual stage-sets.
In opera-hell the damned and evil opera characters are exposed to contrapasso a.k.a. poetic justice (with greetings to Dante), i.e. punishments based on the crimes they committed in their operas. These punishments are always musical in nature and form both entertainment for the natives as well as auditions and rehearsals for a grand show that the opera-devil is working to set up as he also takes the roles of dictatorial conductor and stage director.
The original music will (mostly) be recognisable, but, twisted through changes in register, style, context and function, guided by the question: How could this music sound and function in hell or in a dream of hell for a human being of today?
An evening of twisted classics, operatic meta, broken clichés, cinematic post-apocalypse, infernal misfits, up-side-down arias, gender-bending, waterboarding, musical punishment, hampered singing, resonating stage-elements, mechanical contraptions, close-ups of grinding stage-mechanics, visual illusions, light, smoke and estrangement. In other words a comedy!
Concept, directing, staging, re-composition and video: Simon Steen-Andersen
Co-produced by Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg and The Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen.
On-stage guest ensemble: ICTUS (BE)
Premiere of Strasbourg-version: 16.09-21.09.2023
Premiere of Copenhagen-version: 20.04-09.05.2024