Opera Prize 2022
L’última nit del món (Working Title) © Agustí Charles i
It’s the 9th of October 1969. “What would you do if you knew that this was the last night of the world”, a man asks his partner. She knows exactly why he is asking. Suddenly the entire human race has woken up from the same dream, with the same premonition, everyone quite certain, with the same conviction that the sun would not be rising the next day for anyone. Instead of panicking, people the whole world over try to take pleasure in their daily rituals for the last time (here drinking a cup of coffee, now listening to the radio, they're washing the dishes). All the worries and all the enigmas are calmly faced because when the matter is for real, you don’t start yelling. The new opera by the composer, Agustí Charles, and his libretto writer, Marc Rosich, has its source of inspiration in the short story of Ray Bradbury “The Last Night of the World” from one of his most famous collections of stories, “The Illustrated Man”. The two artists were drawn to this story by the visionary tone of the metaphor it presents, and how, despite having been written in the second half of the past century, the story suddenly has become quite revealing and pertinent to these uncertain times we live in today.
The idea is to write a piece for four voices (2 men, 2 women), a small musical group (with live electronic manipulation of both string instruments and voices) and two percussionists (especially developed and build for this piece). By using all possible combinations of the four singers, the libretto sets out to multiply the married couple, the protagonists of the original story, and give rise to an infinite number of couples. The play of repetition and mirroring along with the use of technology in the treatment of voice means that the four voices will be multiplied exponentially. Lying behind the proposal of the dramaturgy is the idea of creating a choral piece based on the multiplication of the four voices, a piece that becomes a requiem for our uncertain times.
As of now the artistic team members consist of the composer-librettist duo Agustí Charles and Marc Rosich, both from Spain. Both have a long-standing history of collaboration on various successful opera projects. Agustí Charles music provokes a totally new visceral experience of music in a shared space. With the subject matter of Ray Bradbury “The Last Night of the World” Marc Rosich follows the strings of today’s existence in a way designed to open up to many avenues while maintaining the most prominent aspect of today’s crisis, the perceived helplessness of individual human beings in the face of large-scale change.