Soprano Rachel Harnisch

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Les Bienveillantes - Die Wohlgesinnten

Hèctor Parra - Oper nach dem gleichnamigen Roman von Jonathan Littel

Premiere Mittwoch, 24. April 2019, 19.30h

Rachel Harnisch, Sopran
Calixto Bieito, Inszenierung
Klaus Händl, Libretto
Peter Rundel, Leitung

A world premiere after Jonathan Littell's controversial novel The Kindly Ones (Les Bienveillantes) from 2006. The main character, SS officer Max Aue, is not only a witness but above all, also a participant in the horrors of war, but he is not burdened by it. After the creation of Infinite Now, about the First World War, Opera Vlaanderen assigned this challenging commission on the Second World War to librettist Händl Klaus and the Catalan composer Hèctor Parra. It will be directed by Calixto Bieito.




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The characterisation of Maximilian Aue as a sensitive, culturally refined intellectual, but also as a psychologically traumatised, homosexual Nazi, creates an uncomfortably ambiguous situation. The adaptation of this novel as an opera is a true tour de force. With Les Bienveillantes, the composer Hèctor Parra has written his sixth major work for music theatre. He combines strong musical structures with a highly intuitive and direct dramatic tone.

For Les Bienveillantes, Opera Vlaanderen is putting together a cast of opera singers with a strong stage presence. The director and guiding spirit of Les Bienveillantes is Calixto Bieito, who has lost none of the radicalism that established him as the enfant terrible of the opera scene in his early years. The musical direction will be in the hands of Peter Rundel, a specialist in contemporary music who also previously directed Hèctor Parra's Wilde at the Schwetzinger Festspiele.

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Last night, dress rehearsal of Les Bienveillantes, completely admired with the incredible team of soloists, choir and orchestra!!! Peter Tantsits giving life to the protagonist Max Aue realizes an authentic prowess of vocal colors and scenic imagination, embodying one of the longest papers ever written (more than two hours..) Rachel Harnisch gives life to an Una absolutely moving, prodigious, unforgettable. Günter Papendell, Natascha Petrinsky, David Alegret, Claudio Otelli, Gianluca Zampieri, Michael Scott, Donald William Thomson are exceptional in their roles, and the vocal quartet formed by Hanne Roos, Maria Fiselier, Denzil Delaere, Kris Belligh has a power that far exceeds what I had imagined writing the score. Jeanne-Minette Cilliers Richards, flying pianist of the Sarabande, what an angel!!! #CalixtoBieito, the spiritual father of the project, takes us to really unknown territories, conducted by #PeterRundel with the magnificent orchestra and choirs of the #OperaVlaanderen. What a dream, I feel so humble, full of admiration!!!

Thanks Aviel Cahn for giving life to this project. ToiToiToi for the WP next Wednesday 24 April!!

Hèctor Parra