Universal Edition - Wolfgang Rihm – Séraphin

Wolfgang Rihm

Wolfgang Rihm

Year of composition: 1993-1996
Subtitle: Versuch eines Theaters - Instrumente / Stimmen / ... nach Antonin Artaud ohne Text
Version: 2nd state
Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
Parts: 3 mezzo-sopranos
3 altos
2 baritones
Instrumentation: 1 0 1 0 - 0 1 1 0 - 1. part, 2. part, perc(2), hp, vla, vc, cb
Instrumentation details:
1. Teil
2. Teil
flute (+picc
alto fl
bass fl)
clarinet in Eb
trumpet in C
1st percussion
2nd percussion
recording tape
Duration: 70′
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Audio Excerpt


World Première

Location: Staatstheater Stuttgart Stuttgart / Germany
Date: 24.11.1996
Conductor: Bernhard Kontarsky
Scenery: Peter Mussbach
Main Soloists: Eugene Perry, Bar; Herbert Perry, Bar; Ellen Umlauf, Schauspielerin
Remarks: Koproduktion mit der Staatsoper Dresden; Kostüme: Peter Mussbach; Chor: Michael Alber, Klangregie: Breitscheid, Dramaturgie: Zehelein; ARTE schneidet die Produktion mit

Work Introduction

A piece of music? A piece of music theatre? A species of theatre, "born out of the spirit of the music?" A music theatre piece where "the event is protagonist?"

The idea to create something new for music theatre matured in the composer on reading "Le théâtre de Séraphin" - texts by Artaud and Baudelaire bearing the same title, both poetical in nature and at the same time to do with the theory of the theatre. These texts constitute the spiritual background; words in the piece are substituted by phonemes - a special challenge, perhaps, for a new type of singer/actor.

Rihm has conceived two "characters" for "Séraphin" - one created by two male voices (two baritones), the other "born out of the body of six female voices (three mezzo sopranos and three altos), stretched out in space", enveloping the audience. The female voices either sing live or from a multi-track tape. Independently from these ("acoustic") characters, non-singing actors may also play out events on stage. The characters portrayed are not necessarily "male" or "female" - this particular aspect of action on stage has not (yet) been definitively decided on and may well remain open. Rihm calls the two characters "the one and the other double".

The visual aspect created by the video artist Klaus vom Bruch is an important element of this production commissioned by Frankfurt Feste for the Ensemble 13. The projections will either surround the audience (similarly to the female voices) or diagonally cut across space.

score - Séraphin

  • Edition type: score

score - Séraphin

  • Edition type: score

3 Ensembles that have played this work:

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