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Thu, 26. Mar 2020, 19:30

Rued Langgaard (1893 – 1952)

Rued Langgaard
Rued Langgaard

The Antichrist enters a godless world. Summoned by Lucifer himself he reveals himself in many forms: through arrogance, discontent, lust, deceit and hatred humanity is tested and tempted in the "battle of all against all". Yet the voice of God ultimately puts an end to the Antichrist: "Hephata!" / "Open yourself!" – the world seems cleansed.

Rued Langgaard's "church opera", composed in the early 1920s and fundamentally revised until 1930, is a monolith of the composer's works, which has no dearth of exciting and unusual pieces. Starting from the Revelation to John he drafts an eschatologically defined mystery play that cannot conceal the zeitgeist of the fin de siècle. His highly symbolic text rife with associations can thus be read with the appropriate historical pessimism. Yet the shimmering music – shaped by the late Romantic, great orchestral sounds, yet always falling in on itself, and from which prosaic and austere details emerge – brings hope into the dark world. The artistic maverick Langgaard found in this a personal style reminiscent of Strauss and Wagner without neglecting his contemporaries Hindemith and Schönberg.

Director Ersan Mondtag is holding his Berlin opera debut – the immensely powerful imagery of the winner of multiple "Junior Director of the Year" [Theater heute] distinctions, whose works have been seen at numerous theatre conferences, seems to be made for Langgaard's eschatological mysteriousness through its over-aestheticisation.

Church opera in two acts and six pictures. Libretto by the composer after the dramatic poem "Antikrist: Et Dramatisk Digt" by P. E. Benzon and "Lord of the World" by Robert Hugh Benson. First version, BVN 170, composed between 1921 and 1923, revised version, BVN 192, between 1926 and 1930. Scenic premiere on 2 May 1999 at the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck.

Recommended from 16 years on