„Terra Nova“ – a Video Diary (1)

„Terra Nova“ – a Video Diary (1)

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I know, my full-time job as a blogger and email answerer (the job of the 21st century!) leaves me little time for anything else. But sometimes I manage to write a few little pieces on the side (if I remember that I’m a composer).
I have to tell a little true story: after the premiere of my orchestra piece “Pulse” in Munich a very excited man came up to me, talking in a mixture between Spanish, English and German. I probably became a little impatient, because I barely understood what he wanted to say, except that he really, really liked the piece (which of course made me happy). He gave me his card, and I was very astonished to find out he was Carlus Padrissa, head of La Fura dels Baus!

The next day Carlus sent me a picture via Facebook, showing him and an unknown man in a bar, waving to me. The inscription said: “Next opera – with Moritz, in Linz!”.

Little did I know that this picture turned out to be prophetic! The other man was Rainer Mennicken, opera director of Linz opera house (famously re-opened with a new and very modern building just recently). Through Carlus’ incessant pressure on this poor man (and the coincidence that one of my librettists, the Austrian author Franzobel, also proposed me as a composer to Mennicken) a very unexpected opera commission came about, that took up the best part of my last year’s work.

I will not go into the details of the long and laboured working process that finally resulted in a libretto that we are all happy with (Mennicken turned out to be a co-author). Originally it was an opera about the moon landing, then it became an opera about the history of mankind in three acts, then it became something else.

This something else is going to be premiered soon, on May 26. It is actually my second collaboration with Carlus now, as we did “Wagner vs. Verdi” for the Bavarian State Opera. But that is another story.

This video shows my first day at a rehearsal in Linz. Of course this is only an impression, with piano reduction instead of orchestra, and you can tell that there are still many things missing.

It’s difficult to describe, but one of the strangest but also gratifying things about being a composer is that you spend hours on end working alone in a little room, and then you send that somewhere. And then you go there, and suddenly hundreds of people have learned what you wrote and try their best to make it happen, to make it come alive.
Or, as Dennis Russell Davies put it to me today: “You should be happy that you gave so many people something of a secure job, at least for a while”.

I couldn’t have said it better.

Moritz Eggert

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