Prize for Opera
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During our considerations for the Debussy Year 2018, the idea arose of developing – in addition to different concerts and the production of “Pelléas et Mélisande” on the main stage – also a more experimental music theatre project for this occasion. The Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys, whose projects we have followed for some time, has already shown her deep understanding as well as her ability to transfer Debussy’s richness of tone colors for a small ensemble with her noteworthy arrangement of “Pelléas et Mélisande” for chamber orchestra in 2012.
Besides his only finished opera “Pelléas et Mélisande” Debussy has sketched out plans for more or less 10 other opera projects that were never realized.
Beginning in 1908 the composer worked very intensely on an opera based on the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe (who was one of Debussy’s favorite prose authors). He wrote several libretto drafts and left a musical fragment of 20 minutes as well as several sketches.
The work with Debussy’s fragment shall not find its goal in a simple historically correct reconstruction rather than representing a transformation of the original material into the present: a completion of this piece into a unique chamber opera form, in which historic and modern style elements enter into dialogue, connecting the different musical languages of Debussy and Van Parys. Annelies Van Parys, who has worked in comparable ways with pieces of composers like Leoš Janáček, expresses a particular interest in the human voice, which is very often in the focus of her works. Her distinctive and individual vocal style and her dramaturgical sense not only show her being one of the most interesting and most innovative composers for contemporary music theatre but predestine her – regarding Debussy’s complex vocal style – in a special way for this project.
We are proud to present our artistic team!
Annelies van Parys