Saturday, September 2, 2023

Daphnes Garten

I agreed to a request from Austria for another opera: Daphnes Garten, a co-commission from Gerhard Lehner of the Klagenfurter Ensemble and Peter Wagner of the Offenes Haus Oberwart, which will tour in November through December. While it is now almost done, and it is beautiful, the composition of it has been a stress-inducing sleep-depriving nightmare, as it was intermingled with my ongoing day job as an Executive Scientist® and the continuing filming of She Who Is Alive.

This opera, by my count my sixth in German, is a dreamy telling of the story of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese journalist who brought to light corruption throughout Europe. Receiving hundreds of thousands of emails, she was the nexus, the go-to contact for all things corrupt, and what she found was later all supported - and more - by the Panama Papers leak, until one morning when she was shredded in a car bomb explosion. The two assassins - two brothers - one who watched and one who sat on his boat texting the bomb's code sequence REL1=on., have been imprisoned, and some up the chain have faced some consequences, but at the top, not so much. 

After her death, her husband said "The more frustrated Daphne grew at the state of our country, the more beautiful our garden became," and the garden throughout is a touchstone of the beauty that still is to be found even when the honorable men do their best to destroy everything.

The libretto, by the Austrian playwright Katharina Tiwald, is by turns high-comedy and heart-wrenching.  I can't read the end of it, where we hear a roll call of the dead, without crying, and especially the line "The good that women do lives after them. I have done my best to write music that is manipulative and shredding in its own way.  

I'm polishing it up now, sending it off to the Austrians along with the usual Erling-as-German-Bing-Crosby singing all the parts so the director can plan it out before the instruments and singers arrive in a few weeks.  To my fans it may be of interest that one of these recordings exists for every one of my operas - all quite horrifying, but charming.  

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails