Discovered and supported by the Orange Foundation as he started out, the young orchestral conductor Maxime Pascal, heading his ensemble Le Balcon, is reviving “Licht”, the famous cycle of seven operas composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen towards the end of his life and staged at La Scala in Milan in 1981.
Since his meeting with the Orange Foundation a decade ago, Maxime Pascal has long dreamed of mounting Stockhausen’s operatic works in France for the first time. At his side are a loyal artistic team, including Le Balcon co-founder Florent Derex and director Benjamin Lazar, whose first operatic production (Lully’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, with the ensemble Le Poême harmonique conducted by Vincent Dumestre) was supported by the Foundation.
Innovative yet controversial, Stockhausen was a major influence on the electro trend of the 20th century and avant-garde composers like John Cage and Philip Glass.
Taking from traditional Japanese theatre the idea of several performers playing one character, Stockhausen wrote for each of his characters parts for a musician, a singer and a dancer. As such, the character of Michael, a double of Stockhausen, is played by a trumpeter, a tenor and a dancer.
His orchestra is very varied, with such instruments as a xylophone, cymbals, percussion, a harp and jazz trumpet. The musicians are on the stage with the dancers who follow choreography borrowing from Asian dance rituals, tap dancing and jazz.
The cycle will start with “Donnerstag aus Licht” (5 hours of music!), which will be staged at the Opéra-Comique in Paris from 15th to 19th November, then at the Opéra de Bordeaux in January 2019.
And the six other operas in the cycle, each named after the other days of the week in German, will be staged in the next six years.
Donnerstag aus Licht by Karlheinz Stockhausen
15th, 17th and 19th November 2018 at 6:30 pm
Opéra-Comique, Paris, France
Sung in German with surtitles.
Conducted by Maxime Pascal
Directed by Benjamin Lazar
With the Orchestre Le Balcon, the Jeune chœur de Paris, the Orchestre à cordes du Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris (Act III) and the Orchestre Impromptu.