Ian Wilson: Hamelin
Ian Wilson: Hamelin
- Year of composition:
- Chamber opera in 2 acts
- Ian Wilson
- Original language:
- Raphael Urweider
- Lavinia Greenlaw
- Girl, soprano Mayor, tenor Doctor, bass
- alto fl, cl(Bb), perc, hp, guit, vln(1), cb(1)
- Instrumentation details:
alto flute (+bass fl)
clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
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- Schleswig-Holsteinisches SO
- Theo Saye
LESSON IN POWER MANIPULATION AND THE MEDIA
Ian Wilson’s opera “Hamelin” enthusiastically received at the Provincial theatre.
“Let no one believe he can always enjoy himself passively at the opera. No: during the premier of Ian Wilson’s “Hamelin” (libretto: Lavinia Greenlaw) at the provincial theatre interaction was demanded. There was free beer, leaflets, and those in the front rows had to be “extras” or they became scenery.
Producer Christian Marten-Molnar had had built, by decor and costume director Hans Jurgen Baumhofner, a podium in the middle of the Flensburg studio. Around this sat the audience as at a boxing match or in a disco; on TV monitors clips of pop stars like Britney Spears and subsequently live excerpts of the performance itself could be seen.
Antje Bitterlich brings great power to her role and shows the development from the shy outsider to the confident woman, contributing to this with many nuances of her beautiful soprano voice. Markus Wessiack (Bass) and Harald Quaaden (Tenor) are complete slobs oppressively tormenting and amusing at the same time, but always vocally at their best. Wilson ’s music which the small orchestra under the leadership of Theo Saye plays effectively, contains virtually all the techniques of modern composing; it is at the same time extremely catchy and always oriented towards the action. A flute symbolically reminds us of the piper. The remaining players with violin, guitar, harp, clarinet, double bass and percussion makes possible a filigree web of sound.
Ian Wilson’s “Hamelin” is a multilayered lesson in power manipulation and the media composed and produced in such a way as to produce a great effect.
(Flensburg Daily, 17/03/03, Christoph Kalies)
SUCCESSFUL PREMIERE IN THE PROVINCIAL THEATRE OF FLENSBURG: THE PIED PIPER TALE AS MODERN MUSICAL THEATRE
“The provincial theatre of Schleswig-Holstein has, at least in miniature, taken a serious step forward in the affairs of new musical theatre.
… the theatre manager Michael Grosse was able to celebrate on Friday, on the little stage in Flensburg, the German language premiere of “Hamelin”; this is a concise chamber opera lasting one and a half hours by the Irish composer Ian Wilson (present at the performance), and the London librettist Lavinia Greenlaw. The libretto, translated into German by the Swiss lyricist Raphael Urweider, is characterised by a compact dialogue structure.
The town from which the ominous” piper” has enticed away not only the rats but also the children is represented by two dignitaries suffering from very guilty consciences and correspondingly repressed behaviour, and by a disabled girl. She couldn’t follow the piper quickly enough.
Ian Wilson has concentrated her effusive but disillusioned monologue into a remarkable and ambitious vocal flow to which the soprano Antje Bitterlich did justice in bravura fashion. Indeed, the vocal parts intermingled in an artistic garrulousness. At times this meant that they were not easily comprehensible; yet they had an atmospheric vividness. The work had its strongest moments when it turned into a grotesque and in contrast to the basic honesty of the girl, with Monty Python-like sharpness an opportunity for middle class political humour was given to the arch comedian and splendid juggler of voice, the bass Markus Wessiack (Doctor) and his slightly paler tenor partner Harald Quaaden (Mayor).
Christian Marten-Molnar the director is to be congratulated on the speed with which the action took place on the smallest of stages; he was enabled also by the provision of hanging TV monitors to blend together the Pied Piper MTV and the Hollywood ideals of the girl into a cheap local TV.”
(Kieler Nachrichten, 17/03/03, Christian Strehk)