AMOPERA - a dystopian ballad

On 5 November 2022,  Klangforum Wien together with the Belgian Needcompany held the premiere of its first meta-opera at the Festspielhaus Erl in Tyrol: the audience was taken on a journey through the last 100 years of opera history  — drawn from the fund of over 90 operas. “AMOPERA” stands for relationships, contrasts, hopelessness, and ecstasies, which make up the glowing and at the same time forbidding realm of love.

Inspired by Peter von Matt’s book “Betrayed Love” (Liebesverrat), which maps out a literary history from the perspective of infidelity, deception and disappointment, Klangforum Wien has developed a new perspective, a meta-opera, which takes the form of a journey through time, through all that’s new in music and opera. 

By way of montage, adaptation and concentration, excerpts from various works were interlinked in order to re-activate their artistic potential on a new level. From the last scene from Lulu by Alban Berg to “Ach, ich fühl’s” by Bernhard Lang, the range extends all the way to “A respirar ritorno” from Luci mie traditrici by Salvatore Sciarrino – covering the most recent opera history.

AMOPERA is the result of an intensive encounter between Klangforum Wien and the Belgian Needcompany with its protagonists Grace Ellen Barkey, Maarten Seghers and Jan Lauwers. Together with baritone Holger Falk and soprano Sarah Maria Sun, the artists set out on a search between confrontation and symbiosis in an attempt to portray the impossibility and the tragedy of love between two human beings. The musicians of Klangforum Wien are deployed in a dramatic and performative capacity which takes them way beyond their usual interpretative role.

About Needcompany

Founded in Brussels in 1986 by Jan Lauwers and Grace Ellen Barkey as an international collective, the Needcompany, with its landmark productions, has caused a stir worldwide ever since. In 2001, Maarten Seghers joined the group which works with a multidisciplinary approach in the fields of theatre, dance, performance, art, film and literature. In 2018, the Salzburg Festival presented L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Jan Lauwer’s first opera production (which was revived at the Vienna State Opera in 2021), followed by the superb production of Luigi Nono’s Intolleranza 1960 at the Felsenreitschule in 2021.

With works by

Luciano Berio | Sir Harrison Birtwistle | Alexander Zemlinsky | Alban Berg / E. Kloke | Benjamin Britten | Peter Maxwell Davies | Iannis Xenakis | Salvatore Sciarrino | Bernhard Lang | Beat Furrer | Rebecca Saunders | Michael Wertmüller | Sara Glojnarić

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"What Klangforum Wien and Needcompany have in common is their investigation of the twentieth century as a time of deconstruction, excessive speed and excess in general. We do not pretend to be parsing the archive of modern and contemporary music, but do demand the right to interact for a while without shame."
Jan Lauwers
"The Metaopera is based on the deep contexts of creative work that points beyond the composing individual. The autonomy on the one hand and the inviolability on the other hand of a self-contained work of art remain undisputed, and yet there can be completely surprising perspectives when we transcend the events from a momentum of a single opera and search for points of connection that can be found in another opera. Listening from an inner perspective, we search for the deeper meaning of a musical message not only through the eyes of the respective composer, but place the whole in a single big picture on which many have worked with different languages and attitudes - precisely a meta-opera. Colorful, entertaining and profound, it is a history of opera literature in the sign of the new, the shameless and full of surprises."

- Peter Paul Kainrath
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