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May brings three international premieres for Catalan composer Ferran Cruixent, including the first staging of his new one-act chamber opera Thasos and Europa at the Theater Heidelberg.

Ferran Cruixent's percussion concerto with the pictorial title Focs d'artifici (Fireworks), written in 2008 for the late Peter Sadlo, has gained a permanent place in the repertoire since its premiere. After numerous performances in Germany, it travelled for first performances in China, Spain, Mexico and Colombia, among other countries. Now comes the Japanese premiere, which will be performed at the Higashiosaka Cultural Creation Hall in Osaka on 6 May by percussionist Takeshi Sumi and the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra under Sachio Fujioka.

> Visit Kansai Philharmonic website

In March of this year, Alina and Nikolay Shalamov premiered Digital Shadows, a composition by Ferran Cruixent, at their Piano Duo Festival in Berlin. On 10 May, the duo gives a guest performance at the Petit Palau Barcelona, featuring the Spanish premiere not only of this new work, but also of two others by Cruixent: Binary and Miralls.

The one-movement work Binary, like many of the Catalan's other compositions, is influenced by his interest in human dependence on the digital in the present age. The title of the second work - Miralls - relates to the term "llatí miraculum", borrowed from Latin and describing an opaque object with a polished surface that reflects light in a special way. Although in a completely different manner than in the digitalised world, the existence of a real and a figuratively reflected virtual appearance also plays a role here. The recent Digital Shadows similarly focuses on the complex relationship between man and technology.

> Visit Palau de la Música website

Finally, Ferran Cruixent's first opera is launched in Heidelberg. Commissioned by the Heidelberg Theatre, Thasos and Europa is part of the European music theatre project Archive of Voices. The 30-minute chamber opera sees Heidelberg Theatre singers and instrumentalists conducted by Dietger Holm in a production by Zino Wey. Following the opening night on 21 May, three further performances are scheduled on 29 May and 1 and 10 June.

Under the umbrella of the Arbeit an Europa (Work on Europe) association, the Archive of Voices project aims to explore and carry forward the European idea, building upon interviews since 2018 with public figures born between 1920 and 1945 who describe their very personal vision of the European idea in conversation. Some of the most incisive and theatrically effective stories are taken as a starting point for the re-composition of music theatre works, including Cruixent's contribution to this project.

Cruixent describes how "In the case of Thasos and Europa, the idea for the libretto by Emanuel Maeß is based on an interview with the Greek writer Vassilis Vassilikos. The chamber opera takes Greek tragedy as its point of departure and serves as a reference for the confrontation of ideals when Thasos reunites with his sister Europa after 3,000 years. The work is inspired by musical elements of ancient Greek tragedy: the chorus, some instrumental and percussive elements, as well as quotations from various musical archaeological fragments, such as the Papyrus of Zenon (200 BC), or the fragment of Euripides-Orestes (408 BC). In addition, several musical cells are based on the tetrachord, which was typical of the modal system of ancient Greek music. There is also another motif dedicated to Dionysus."

> Visit Heidelberg Theater website

>  Further information on Work: Thasos und Europa

Photo: Quim Roser

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