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The newest music theatre work by Manfred Trojahn has its world premiere on 3 December at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Septembersonate is based on a story by Henry James, in which a middle-aged man encounters the ghostly apparition of what he could have become if he had led his life differently.

Septembersonate is Manfred Trojahn's third music theatre work since he joined forces with music publishers Boosey & Hawkes four years ago, following his Hofmannsthal one-act opera Ein Brief (Bonn 2020) and his Opera Award-winning modernisation of Greek mythology in Eurydice - Die Liebenden, blind (Amsterdam 2022). As with most of his recent operas, the composer has himself written the libretto for this new musical ‘chamber play in 6 scenes’.

The story The Jolly Corner by Henry James (1843 - 1916) served as the model for Trojahn’s Septembersonate, as described in the work’s theatrical synopsis: "A woman and a man meet again after a long time. Decades have passed since she became an actress and he a writer, decades since they spent their youth together without ever becoming a couple. Now Osbert Brydon, the son of wealthy American merchants, has returned from Europe to his homeland to wind up his parents' house. Who would he have become if he had stayed? Would Ellice Staverton have loved the man who stayed? A mind game turns into a painful showdown: in the dark corridors of his childhood, he meets the person his family wanted him to become."

The world premiere, taking place on 3 December at the Düsseldorf Opera House, is staged by Johannes Erath in designs by Heike Scheele, with video by Bibi Abel. Under the musical direction of Vitali Alekseenok, a top-class ensemble of singers includes Holger Falk (Osbert I), Juliane Banse (Ellice), Roman Hoza (Osbert II) and Susan Maclean (Mrs Muldoon), with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra in the pit. The run of seven performances continues through until the end of January 2024.

The stage production will be accompanied by the exhibition ‘Manfred Trojahn. Fauneries.’ at the Heine Haus Literaturhaus in Düsseldorf until 8 December, a public appearance by the composer in the ‘Music in Conversation’ series at the Düsseldorf Central Library (28 November, 7 pm) and the premiere of the film Das weiße Blatt by Jo Alex Berg - an approximately half-hour documentary about the creation of the opera, from the work on the score through to the first main rehearsal on stage.

Recent concert works by Manfred Trojahn include Achéron, scored for four percussionists and orchestra, inspired by Greek mythology and composed as a tribute to percussionist Peter Sadlo, which was premiered by the Munich Philharmonic last June. A new version of Trojahn’s Violin Concerto is unveiled by soloist Antje Weithaas and the Duisburg Philharmonic on 24 April.

>  Further information on Work: Septembersonate

Image: Deutsche Oper am Rhein

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