The Austrian première of Johannes Maria Staud’s opera Die Antilope takes place on 11 November at the Wien Modern festival. The libretto was written by the German poet Durs Grünbein, who has already worked with the composer on the opera Berenice.
Johannes Maria Staud on Die Antilope:
The opera tells the story of a young man, Victor, a character that draws on Victor Krap (Samuel Beckett, Eleutheria) and Bartleby, the Scrivener (Herman Melville). Victor, a nonconformist social outsider, escapes from an increasingly claustrophobic company party (complete with stagnant and meaningless party chit-chat) by jumping out of the window. This results in Victor stumbling through an absurdly distorted urban world, his “journey through the night” leading him to the strangest situations, sometimes menacing and appalling, sometimes funny and grotesque, always wavering on the threshold between real and unreal.
Our hero is torn between the desire to be an outside observer, a spontaneous man of action (he is not immune to moral indignation) and allowing himself to be swept away by the dynamics of the curious situations in which he finds himself. At the end of this journey, Victor – whose true motivation remains a mystery – turns up unexpectedly back at the company party under extremely strange circumstances. The party, which had been frozen in time during his absence, resumes as if nothing had happened. The Möbius band has closed.
Peruse the score: