Tuesday 25 May 2021

Circus Days and Nights: Philip Glass' opera based on Robert Lax's circus poems to premiere in Malmö

Philip Glass: Circus Days And Nights(Image Peter Aberg / Photo Karo)
Philip Glass: Circus Days And Nights
(Image Peter Aberg / Photo Karo)

American poet Robert Lax (1915-2000) was fascinated by the circus and during the 1940s worked in circuses in Canada as a clown and expert juggler. It was travelling with the Cristiani Brothers circus in 1949 that enabled him to generate material for his long poems The Circus of the Sun and Mogador's Book. [There is some film footage of Cristiani Brothers' circus on the Robert Lax website]. The Circus of the Sun is a cycle of 31 short poems which tells a day in the life of a travelling circus, aligning events with the canonical hours. 

Composer Philip Glass had long been fascinated by Lax's circus poetry and for the last ten years has had the rights to Lax's circus poem. But it is only now that Glass has ventured into putting his vision of Lax's poetic world into practice, thanks to an innovative Swedish director.

Tilde Björfors, who is renowned for incorporating circus acts into traditional theatre, is the founder and Artistic Director of the Swedish company Cirkus Cirkör. In 2016 she directed a production of Philip Glass' Satyagraha at Folkoperan, Stockholm which was a collaboration between Folkoperan and Cirkus Cirkör which was a spectacular mix of opera and circus. It was seeing Björfors' production of Satyagraha that convinced Glass that he had found his circus for his work based on Lax's poetry.

Circus Days and Nights will feature a libretto by David Henry Hwang based on Lax's circus poetry, and will be staged as a collaboration between Cirkus Cirkör and Malmö Opera, directed by Tilde Björfors. The new opera will take audiences on a spectacular adventure into the world of the circus and the performers who dedicate their lives to this art, capturing a day in their lives as a spiritual ceremony, one which honours the cycle of life and death. The show will be performed on Malmö Opera’s main stage with live music to an intimate socially distanced live audience and streamed worldwide, and the cast will include soprano Elin Rombo who recently sang the title role in Rufus Wainwright's opera Prima Donna at Royal Swedish Opera.

The opera will be streamed on-line from 29 May to 13 June 2021, full details from the opera website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts this month