Sunday, February 28, 2016

Revised version of Brokeback Mountain debuts in Salzburg

Florian Plock as Ennis del Mar and Mark Omvlee as Jack Twist
American composer Charles Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain continues to get European performances, while awaiting its US premiere. The latest production in at the Salzburger Landestheater with Florian Plock as Ennis del Mar and Mark Omvlee as his lover Jack Twist. The piece was originally commissioned by Gerard Mortier for the New York City Opera before its demise. Mortier then had the piece premiered at the Teatro Real of Madrid on January 28, 2014.

The piece was subsequently performed in Aachen, Germany on December 7, 2014 in a new production directed by Ludger Englels, featuring German bass-barihunk Christian Tschelebiew as Ennis Del Mar and Dutch tenor Mark Omvlee as Jack Twist. In the world premiere, Ennis Del Mar was performed by Daniel Okulitch and Jack Twist by Tom Randle.

The Salzburger Landestheater production will premiere a new chamber version by the composer for 24 instruments and will be directed by Jacopo Spirei, and conducted by Adrian Kelly.

Wuorinen used Schoenberg's half-sung, half-spoken Sprechstimme as a way for the character of Ennis to express himself in the early part of the opera. He does not develop sung lines until the second act, as before that he cannot acknowledge who he really is. He associates the two leads with different musical pitches, "B-natural and C-sharp, a whole step apart, yet divided by a third tonal area associated with the mountain itself, based on a low C."

There are six more performances between now and April 21 and tickets are available online.

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