Berlin Premiere: Lera Auerbach – The Blind (A Cappella Opera)

By Ronnie Rocket, in Berlin-Charlottenburg

Yesterday, the first performance of the first opera by Siberian born, New York based, Artist-in-residence in Dresden Lera Auerbach, premiered at the Konzerthaus.

The chamber opera for 12 singers (2 Soprano, 2 Mezzo-soprano, 2 Alto, 2 Tenor, 2 Baritone, 2 Bass) comprised of three combined works: A preludium, a prolog and the chamber opera, composed in 2001, itself.

At a lonely clearing in a wood, a group of blind people await the return of a priest who led them there in order to enable them to enjoy the last rays of the sun before the beginning of winter. Only the sound of the nearby sea can be heard. The longer they wait, the more restless the blind people become; in their desperation they realise that they are helpless and cannot move from their place. Their fear escalates to naked terror when they discover the corpse of the priest. The blind people form a circle round the dead man and begin to pray for forgiveness and salvation. Steps become perceptible during the prayer. The presence of something mysterious makes the blind people panic; they pray ever more fervently. In his mother’s arms, the small child, the only person in the group who can see, breaks out sobbing. What does the child see? Is it rescue, the rescue so ardently hoped for, or is it death?

As a preludium for the mini opera, the singers performed Henry Purcell / Sven David Sandström – Hear My Prayer, O Lord. Listen to a recording by Ars Nova Choir here:

The prolog was a version of Maurice Maeterlinck‘s Die Blinden from 1901/1926. Watch an excerpt from an earlier performance in Berlin here:

There is, of course, no recording of the premiere performance. But this blog posting will be updated with reviews.

Program details here. PDF program here.

Ticket information here.

Press release here.

Sheet music here.


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