Thursday, 20 November 2014

Peer Gynt the opera

Nils Harald Sødal - photo Erik Berg/DNO
Nils Harald Sødal - photo Erik Berg/DNO
Ibsen's Peer Gynt, a play originally designed for reading rather than performing, was fitted out with music in the 19th century by Edvard Grieg. Both text and music for the stage version underwent many iterations. More recently the play has proved tempting for those who wish to see, in Ibsen's picaresque tale, a mirror for our own times (see Hilary's review of the Iggy Pop inspired re-invention at the Barbican). Now the Norwegian National Opera (Den Norske Opera, DNO) has commissioned an operatic version of the play, bringing the piece into the opera house where it might always seem to have belonged.

They commissioned the work from the Estonian-born composer Juri Reinvere, whose first opera Pudistus (Purge) was premiered by Finish National Opera in 2012. Reinvere's Peer Gynt sets a German text which incorporates bits of other Ibson plays, as well as bits of Shakespeare and the Edda, but the work is being premiered in Norwegian. Reinvere has in fact provided his own libretto and the work is very much a re-invention, with Ibsen's character having different encounters and going on different journeys. Reinvere's Peer Gynt premieres at Oslo Opera House on 29 November 2014 and there are performances until 17 January 2015. The work is conducted by John Helmer Fiore and directed by the young Norwegian director Sigrid Strøm Reibo. Further information from the DNO website.

Reinvere was born in Tallinn (in 1971) and studied there and at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. He currently lives in Berlin, and uses his own poetry as the basis for his music

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