Prize for Opera 2018
Dark Spring © Hans Thomalla i
“Dark Spring” – an opera in eleven scenes by Hans Thomalla with song lyrics by Joshua Clover, commissioned by the Mannheim Opera for the 2018/19 season – is based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play “Spring Awakening“. While the original plot focuses on the reactions of a group of young teenagers under extreme pressure from inhibitory sexual norms, inhumane school stress and an authoritarian parent generation who chokes individual development, the opera will look at young adults today from an almost opposite point of view. They are appearing here instead as a “cool” generation in a cold society – young adults who seem to have learned not to show their feelings and to hide vulnerabilities in a world of extreme competition. While the story of the opera “Dark Spring” has left the violent clashes of the original play behind, a different kind of conflict resonates under the smooth textures. It is the conflict between the fear to feel, to connect and to express on one side, and on the other side the desire to nevertheless experience oneself and one another, and to find a genuine expression for these desires and experiences.
The music of “Dark Spring” is structured into songs, interrupted by short, recitative-like scenes. The medium of song provides the protagonists with a possibility to express feelings, desires, and reflections in a form that is nevertheless distancing. The music of the work eventually transcends and transforms these song-style surfaces, moving towards less stereotypical harmonies and melodic structures and eventually to incommensurable sound and noise. It is this other musical world that articulates the characters’ unrestrained and often physical experiences, expressions, and desires.
“Dark Spring” – an opera in eleven scenes by Hans Thomalla with song lyrics by Joshua Clover, commissioned by the Mannheim Opera for the 2018/19 season – is based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play “Spring Awakening“. Hans Thomalla (Composer), born in Bonn, Germany, is a Chicago based composer. His compositions explore the transitions between music as historically formed expression, often dissecting found "objects" from music tradition, and music as sound as its own acoustic reality. Joshua Clover (Song-Lyrics) is a professor at the University of California Davis. He is a published poet, scholar, critic and journalist. Lydia Steier (stage director) was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and studied in Germany. Her staging of "Donnerstag im Licht" by Karl-Heinz Stockhausen was selected by opera magazine "Opernwelt" as the „Best Staging of the 15/16 Season“.
Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn