Press release from the Vienna State Opera:
Within the focus on contemporary music, which will characterise the repertoire in the coming seasons, Vienna State Opera Director Dominique Meyer scheduled five composition mandates for the next five seasons. The chronologically last premiere project was presented during today’s press conference: Olga Neuwirth is going to compose the opera Orlando for the Wiener Staatsoper, based on the homonymous novel by Virginia Woolf. The librettist will be the Franco-American author and playwright Catherine Filloux. The premiere is scheduled for December 2019 – cast and leading team will be announced at a later time.
Orlando is Virginia Woolf’s first big literary success. Woolf is to be considered one of the most prominent classics of English modernism. The central theme of the novel is the interlocking of gender identity, love and artistic creativity. Personal and social realities are cracked in a poetic and cunning way.
"Ever since I was a child I have always been interested in everything, from arts to politics, sciences to human psychology. Passionate towards everything. I let myself be inspired in the same way by the small and big things that the world has to offer, by the wonderful diversity of life, and that is something that I see reflected in Orlando. The essence of this fictional biography is the love for oddities, the supernatural, deceit, virtuosity, exaltation and exaggeration. It’s also about remembrance, about a sophisticated form of sexual allure and against the restrain toward a single gender. Another important topic is also the refusal to be patronised and to be treated in a condescending way, which is something that happens over and over again to women and will keep on happening. Virginia Woolf questioned the roles of man and woman, the status of women in society and their approach to literature. My musical theatre won’t be about a theoretical proof, but about different possibilities that unfold – also musically – scene by scene", says Olga Neuwirth. "For me Orlando and music are very similar: through the centuries the story of Orlando conveys, in the same way as (classical) music, on the one side the bittersweet pain that goes beyond words, and on the other hand the precise structures, proportions, abstraction and mathematical-scientific thinking and solace. Each life arises from a process of self-creation. As we live, we create our own world. In the same way as we do with music, or with and through Orlando".
Orlando is a through-composed opera in English for soloists