Saturday, November 22, 2014

Roman Trekel to perform controversial Henze oratorio

Roman Trekel
The world of opera has seen its fair share of controversies, including the political censorship of Verdi operas, outrage over the sexual nature of Richard Strauss' Salome and the recent protests over John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera.

Much of this pales to the reaction that greeted Hans Werner Henze's oratorio Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of the Medusa) in Hamburg, Germany in 1968. The piece, which was written as a requiem for Che Guevera, had advertisements torn down, protests, chanting and the chorus actually walkng off the stage chanting that they wouldn't sing under the "red flag," a reference to the communist flag that had been hoisted by students. Scuffles ensued in the audience, the police had to be called and the performance was cancelled.

The piece has subsequently had a few performances without incident and is scheduled for two performances beginning tonight with baritone Roman Terkel and the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. 

The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault
Das Floß der Medusa tells the story of the French frigate Meduse, which ran aground off the west coast of Africa in 1816. It marks an ignominious episode in French political and maritime history, and was later immortalized in the painting of the same name by Théodore Géricault. 

The piece is written for soprano, baritone, speaker, choir, children’s choir and orchestra. The choir, as a collective mass, plays an important role and expresses its visions of death in floating, nearly impossible sounds. At the apotheosis, which features the Vietnam war, Henze based his rhythmic patterns on the chants in honor of Ho Chi Minh. As Henze's oratorio builds to its climax, the "dead" move from the choir of the living to that of the dead, which is full of both adults and children, creating an imbalance on the stage.

Tickets and additional information are available online

2015 Barihunk Calendar
Mildly less controversial is our 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar, which is available by clicking on the LULU button below. 
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