'Orlando' world premiere to shake gender norms at Vienna State Opera

VIENNA (dpa)- Olga Neuwirth's 'Orlando' is set to shatter traditions at the Vienna State Opera when it premieres there on Sunday, not least because it is the first full-length opera by a woman to be shown on this 150-year-old stage.
"It's never too late," the 51-year-old Austrian composer said ahead of the world premiere.

"The venerable institution of the State Opera has two sides: one is the history of making wonderful music, and the other one is a history of rigidity," she said.
Based on Virginia Woolfe's classic novel "Orlando," the libretto by French-US playwright Catherine Filloux retells the story of a young male aristocrat who lives forever and becomes a woman as the centuries go by.
The opera version does not end in the 1920s like its original but carries the story into the present.
In this week's full orchestra rehearsal, a dissonant stream of warped and blurred sounds filled the opera.
The score demands some of the violins to be tuned lower by a quarter note, and the orchestra is accompanied by electric guitars, choirs and the State Opera's organ.
Some of the musicians, who are mostly Vienna Philharmonic members, have been unhappy about the music which put them in an "aggressive mood," the Vienna daily Die Presse wrote. However, others in the orchestra pit are enthusiastic, according to the report.
"The piece demands that everyone take a leap of faith. Everyone must move out of their comfort zone," Neuwirth told reporters.

Thursday, December 5th 2019

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