Speciale BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
estratti, interviste, libretto dell'opera in prima assoluta al Real di Madrid
Brokeback è la storia di Ennis del Mar, bracciante nei ranch, e del cowboy da rodeo Jack Twist, due giovani uomini che si incontrano e si innamorano nell'immaginaria Brokeback Mountain, in Wyoming nel 1963. Wuorinen dichiara "E' la storia di un amore condannato, in questo caso una complessa relazione omosessuale si svolge in un contesto del tutto omofobico." Il film del 2005 vedeva protagonisti Jake Gyllenhaal e il compianto Heath Ledger e ha vinto tre premi Oscar, per la miglior regia (Ang Lee), la miglior colonna sonora originale (Gustavo Santaolalla) e la miglior sceneggiatura non originale (Larry McMurtry e Diana Ossana). Con un approccio decisamente diverso rispetto alla versione cinematografica, Wuorinen crea un'atmosfera più energica. La vicenda e i personaggi sono stati ben condensati dalla Proulx, sono stati inseriti un fantasma e un coro, e la natura stessa è introdotta come elemento fondamentale nella narrazione. La partitura di Wuorinen evoca i monti con crescendo e melodie, dando vita al paesaggio duro e imponente del Wyoming in cui ha origine la storia.
Opera in due atti e 22 scene
Prima esecuzione assoluta, commissione del Teatro Real di Madrid
Direttore e concertatore Titus Engel
Regia Ivo van Hove
Scene e luci Jan Versweyveld
Costumi Diego Wojciech Dziedzic
Video Tal Yarden
Drammaturgia Jan Versweyveld
Assistente alla direzione Martín Etxebarria
Assistente alla regia Marcelo Buscaino
Assistente alle scene Pascal Leboucq
Assistente alle luci Alberto Ródriguez
Assistente ai costumi Anuschka Braun
Assistente ai video Mikaela Liakata
Jack Twist Tom Randle (tenore)
Ennis del Mar Daniel Okulitch (basso baritono)
Alma Beers (moglie di Ennis) Heather Buck (soprano)
Lureen (moglie di Jack) Hannah Esther Minutillo (mezzosoprano)
Aguirre (capo mandriano) / Hogboy (padre di Lureen) Ethan Herschenfeld (basso)
Barista Hilary Summers (contralto)
Mrs. Beers (madre di Alma) Celia Alcedo (mezzosoprano)
Mrs. Twist (madre di Jack) Jane Henschel (contralto)
John Twist Sr. (padre di Jack) Ryan MacPherson (tenore)
Commessa Letitia Singleton (contralto)
Un cowboy Gaizka Gurruchaga (tenore, corifeo)
Coro e Orchestra del Teatro Real Durata approssimativa: 2 ore senza intervallo Date 28, 30 gennaio, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 febbraio 2014
GERARD MORTIER SU BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN L'importanza della novella di Annie Proulx consiste nell'affermare che un grande amore è un grande amore anche se trova l'opposizione del contesto e delle convenzioni sociali. . Per questo ho programmato questa prima assoluta accanto a una produzione di Tristan und Isolde. Tristan, Isolde, Jack, Ennis: nessuno di loro capisce cosa sta gli accadendo, ma tutti sono pronti a morire per il loro amore. Wuorinen ha compreso che poteva interpretare l'idea della Proulx con la sua musica, ma anche che avrebbe avuto bisogno, esattamente come Wagner, di una grande concezione formale per non cadere nel sentimentalismo. Accanto al film Brokeback Mountain, che era piuttosto sentimentale e più vicino a Puccini, Wuorinen servirà la dimensione più essenziale della fantastica novella di Annie Proulx.
STRUTTURA DELL'OPERA (Brokeback Mountain, il libretto)
Preludio. Appare la montagna. Scene 1. 1963. Roulotte di Aguirre, Jack ed Ennis si incontrano. Interludio Scena 2. Un bar presso la montagna. Prima conversazione fra Jack ed Ennis. Interludio Scena 3. Sulla montagna, sera. Jack ed Ennis al campo base. Più tardi: Jack sale, Ennis resta al campo base. Interludio Scene 4. Sulla montagna. Qualche anno dopo. Sera. Interludio Scena 5. Sulla montagna. Tramonto. Notte. Jack ed Ennis bevono. Interludio. Primo incontro. Scena 6. Sulla montagna. Mattina. Passaggio improvviso al mondo di Alma Interludio Scena 7. Negozio di abiti da sposa. Alma e sua madre acquistano l'abito. Alma sogna una vita in città Interlude Scena 8. Sulla montagna. Aguirre spia Jack ed Ennis. Interludio. L'ultima notte sulla montagna Scena 9. Sulla montagna. Jack propone a Ennis di vivere insieme. Ennis rifiuta. Lotta. Partenza. Scena 10. Rivendita di macchine agricole. Texas. Hog-Boy, Lureen. Interludio Scena 11. 1967. Appartamento dei Del Mar. Ennis - Alma. Ennis riceve una lettera da Jack che gli annuncia la sua visita.
Scena 1. Appartamento dei Del Mar. Alma vede Ennis e Jack baciarsi Scena 2. Motel Jack edEnnis Scena 3. Appartamento dei Del Mar. La tensione fra Alma ed Ennis cresce. “Vorrei essere diverso”, singhiozza Ennis. Scena 4. Rivendita di macchine agricole. Texas. Apparizione del padre morto di Lureen. Scena 5. Appartamento dei Del Mar. Alma vuole il divorzio. Ennis chiama Jack. Jack impulsivamente si mette in viaggio verso il Texas. Storia dell'omicidio di Earl. Ennis rifiuta di vivere con Jack. Scena 6. Pranzo del Giorno del Ringraziamento. Ennis e Alma litigano. Interludio Scen7 7. 1983. L'ultimo viaggio verso la montagna. Scena 8. Centro di Riverton. Ennis apprende della morte di Jack. I cittadini (coro) lo irridono. Interludio Scena 9. Genitori di Jack Scena 10. Camera di Jack. La camicia di Jack Interludio Scena 11. Roulotte di Ennis. Ennis giura fedeltà.
CONVERSAZIONE TRA CHARLES WUORINEN E ANNIE PROULX (in inglese)
[Charles Wuorinen] What was it like to write your first libretto?
[Annie Proulx] I found it engaging and interesting, in fact, I became very absorbed and found it fun. I liked the freedom to reshape the characters, to condense them into tighter roles and to eliminate some of the story’s personnel. Because the dialogue was already terse, moving it into opera form was relatively simple. I felt it important not to be too wordy. And working in a new medium free from the strictures of the short story form was a pleasure. Of course you were my guide, suggesting the addition of a ghost and a chorus. The ghost leaped from the pages—it had to be Hog-Boy, Lureen’s bombastic farm equipment salesman father, proud of his connections to important entities, besotted with paternal affection for his self-absorbed daughter, that chip off the old block. It was also a chance to correct the ending of the story. Very few people understood what Ennis’s final words in the story—“I swear—”meant, and the chance to explicate with his final song illuminated the depth of his misery and his too-late useless vow. How did it come about that you took on the job of composing the music for a possible opera of “Brokeback Mountain”? What made you think that you could work with the reclusive author reputed to be “difficult”? In fact, how do you go about choosing what you will compose? What is usually the germ that animates the selection process? Do you relish difficult or controversial material?
[CW] Encountering the story it seemed to me that here was a tragedy occasioned by the mores of today, just as operas of the past often had things like unwed mothers in them -- in a time when such situations were scandalous and led to bad ends for operatic characters. And of course one felt a direct personal connection to the subject. Probably a composer himself reputed to be "difficult" might not find a "difficult" author hard to work with. In the event, as we both know, there was an extraordinary lack of friction in our collaboration. It's hard to say just what motivates selection. Almost always there is the commission, the means of livelihood, the job. But most times I steer the commission in the direction I want. For an instrumental work the "selection" really involves the medium, which I can usually choose unless the ensemble involved is already fixed. But underlying all is the powerful mysterious sense of the appropriate, hard to describe. For a stage or vocal work, of course, we have words and dramatic structure. Clearly these will shape my intensions. I was drawn to BBM and wanted to make an opera of it, but at first had no idea how I could realize my desire; but then Gerard Mortier heard of my interest and offered "the job". I don't know if I relish the difficult or controversial, but they often end in my lap. I know that you consider the original story to be about “homophobia in a specific place”. But when I came to set your words inevitably I was drawn to larger themes of human behavior, and the very apparatus of large-scale opera has a way of making the particular into the general. Does this obscure the central idea of the story?
[AP] Not at all. Short stories are, by their very nature, exemplary microcosms of a greater human condition. I think of the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield’s powerful 1922 short story “The Fly” in which a man who has lost his son in World War I rescues and then drowns a fly that has blundered into his inkwell. Even the dimmest reader recognizes the fly as his son, and the father as an impersonal lethal force of the kind that pushes countries into war. Short stories are at once pointedly particular and broadly general; therein lies the strength and beauty of this literary form. Why did you think your music would mesh with this story?
[CW] I didn't think about whether my music would be "suitable" because -- being on the inside of it -- I mostly experience my work as the maker of it. I just knew that I wanted to add my voice to the story, and (as we discussed when we first started working together) help if I could to restore some of what the film had taken away. One of the strands that runs through the libretto—for me at least—is the slow evolution of the main character’s ability to express himself, to “speak”. Granted that Ennis never achieves the capacity for self-expression in full, and only approximates it at the end when he is alone and has lost everything, I still treated his vocal expression in a way that slowly evolves toward song. [This has resonance for me with Moses and Aron of Schoenberg.] Is this something you intended or am I reading in too much?
[AP] Main characters in a story may show transformation or a dreadful inability to change. In the original story version of “Brokeback Mountain” Ennis was unable to get past the societal mores of the conservative western ranch world. He remained frozen and inarticulate to the end. In the libretto he gradually changes, realizes what his and Jack’s lives might have been and finally can express these thoughts and feelings. The tragedy is that it is too late to matter. Looking at the story from another angle I might agree with Edgar Allan Poe who wrote in his “Philosophy of Composition” that “a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of the isolated incident.” In the written Brokeback story the tent is the ‘close circumscription of space’ for Jack and Ennis, but it is also Ennis’s psyche which is so tightly circumscribed that he cannot imagine living with another man.
[CW] Setting a text is a severe appropriation by another of work you have already done. How much latitude of interpretation are you willing to allow?
[AP] Since I was complicit in reshaping the story I was not perturbed by shifts of meaning nor explication. I understood from the beginning that opera is an altogether different form than the short story, with a different history, different (and public) audiences, richer depths and drawing on the rarefied talents of a large group of people. Of course I worked most closely with you, but I was very pleased from the beginning to be part of what I saw as an extended group project. Our visit to Madrid in October of 2012 to see the opera house and meet the people involved in making this event happen was thrilling. There was a sense of inexorable machinery slowly beginning to move as did the old steam locomotives. I thought it might be interesting to observe the process of making an opera and so I took a few notes on personalities, expressions, difficulties, problems solved or by-passed, and the few bits of information that came to me via email. I had looked forward to having dinner with Gerard Mortier in Brussels when I was there in December and hoped to ask him a hundred questions, but I was ill and had to beg off and my questions were not asked. I have heard you remark several times I connection with your work that “anything can happen.” This phrase has particular resonance for me since the years past when I first read William Gass’s “The Pedersen Kid” in which the protagonist is brought up sharply by the possibilities of “all that could happen.” I this is an expression of the indeterminacy of constructs. But is there a point in your work on a composition where the possibilities narrow down to a single and specific way that thing must happen? In other words, to what point does your composition retain fluidity and ability to absorb changes?
[CW] I suppose that strictly speaking, the composition never wholly loses the possibility to absorb changes. But as the work takes on ever more concrete form and the abstractions underlying it fade away, its demands become more and more specific, until finally the work is telling me what to do, rather than my telling it what to be. It's not for me a matter of indeterminacy of constructs: these are very specific at the beginning of work. But their generality hides the reality of the emerging composition, which sometimes forces me to do things that seem to violate underlying principles. But by then the principles have faded from the generative to the mere stimulative, so I don't care.
How do a play and a libretto differ, given that both are equally for the stage? Having written a libretto would you now ever consider writing as play?
[AP] I don’t think so. Music has always been important to me and to be linked with musical expression of the story was the main attraction of trying to shape the libretto. I almost never go to plays, preferring to read them or, more likely, ignore them. I live in a remote rural area where play-going is not done. Plays are urban. I am a somewhat inarticulate person myself, not a talker, and plays and many films seem to me overloads of jabber. I feel a chill at the thought of trying to write a play. On the other hand I did see Moisés Kaufman’s “The Laramie Project” on its first performance in Laramie where the audience contained many of the local people who knew the situation or were peripherally touched by the killing of Matthew Shepherd. It was an extraordinary and emotional evening and I thought at the time that this was what theatre should be, the re-enactment of local events before local people who intimately understood what it was all about. The emotional investment of the audience in this play was electrifying and many people were shaken to their cowboy boot soles. What difficulties did you experience composing the Brokeback Mountain score? For you, what were the difficulties, the clear sailing, the telling passages?
[CW] Overall, I didn't have much serious difficulty, once I had established a few core harmonic and symbolic principles. Perhaps my greatest anxiety came in finding the right way to set colloquial speech. After all, opera is "grand" and can oscillate between the pompous and the silly; moreover, anything that is sung takes on freight that the utterance might not have if merely spoken. And singing something normally takes at least twice as long as saying it. Fortunately for me, your libretto has no speech-fat in it -- every word is consequential -- so once I had relaxed about the matter, the setting flowed naturally. What difference do you find between spoken and sung language?
[AP] I had never been aware of any particular differences but working on this project I came to see that not all words are easily sung. What may lie comfortably on the page can be difficult or become contorted and lose itself when sung. The click and chop of many consonants is awkward compared to flowing vowels. I suppose that one reason Italian opera has been so much in the forefront over the centuries is the fluidity of the vowel-rich language. I think too that a written word, through the reader’s visual perception and appreciation of its shaped letters, usually sets up different images in the mind than hearing the same word sung. But sometimes sung or spoken words work better than the letters on the page. Alastair Reid back in the 1950s made up a counting rhyme that the reader must speak or sing to appreciate. It only works in English, but writers in other languages could find similar words that fit well. Reid wrote: “Counting: Ounce, dice, trice, quartz, quince, sago, serpent, oxygen, nitrogen, denim.” During the process of working on the libretto you suggested changing a number of words that would be difficult for the singer. We removed the word “pretty” in one place, decided to use “coyote” as two syllables rather than three, substituted “world” for “planet”, “over” for “finished”, “try” instead of “interview” and so forth. We exchanged emails throughout the libretto-writing process and met several times, once in Wyoming at the Ucross Foundation so you could see the terrain behind the original story. Were those meetings useful to you or somewhat unnecessary?
[CW] Our initial encounter at Ucross was critically important for me. First, the chance to understand more of what lies behind what you write, in general, and then especially how you see BBM after all that it, and you, and been through. And the chance to form a working bond is always to be greatly treasured. Second, seeing the land where the story is set and the characters shaped was invaluable, and its harsh magnificence made a deep impression on me. I won't try to say how this helped generate the music of BBM, but I know that it did. Given the economy and conciseness of your language, would you consider writing poetry?
[AP] I think I will remain a reader of poetry rather than try to write it, for two reasons, both summed up admirably by the versatile and witty con-man playwright Wilson Mizner, “Poets are born, not paid.” After you saw the nascent drafts of the libretto you made several excellent suggestions of useful inclusions, as aghost, a chorus. Were there other operatic desiderata you might have wished to add?
[CW] I know that when composing in a celebrated genre like opera, there may be a tendency to categorical thinking - - what does "opera" require? But I just look to the task at hand, to set the text and support the drama and comment musically. Thus, my suggestions did not come out of a bin labeled Operatic Desiderata (though I confess I did say that "we can't have an opera without a ghost") but out of theatrical considerations. And the ghost is fun.
[AP] We went together to Madrid this past summer at Teatro Real director Gerard Mortier’s request to meet with some of the staff and to see the opera house. What did you find most interesting, most disturbing about the visit?
[CW] I was fascinated by the theatre itself, a marvelous 19th-century house with 1600 seats. A house of this size is what suits musical theatre, not the great barns built since then, and the Teatro Real is very well laid out so that everyone in the audience can feel some connection to the stage. As you recall, we saw a splendid production of Boris Godunov during our stay, making me think that some of the stage machinery heaving up scenery from the four-story basement beneath would be very useful in BBM. Overall I had a very positive impression, our hosts were most gracious, and if anything disturbed me it was only worry over the health of the Spanish economy and what effect it might have on our project.
[AP] A few months earlier we met in New York with Gerard Mortier, the set designer Jan Versweyveld the director Ivo van Hove in the wine cellar of a restaurant while a great thunderstorm roared outside. This was a first meeting of the people involved. Mr. Mortier spoke richly but most of us sat silent, darting covert glances at each other as if hoping to find intent in facial expression. It was an introductory dinner but whatever ideas the designer and director had remained unexpressed. What was your impression?
[CW] Our host Gerard Mortier was of course most generous, as we had already known that he would be. The question was what the ideas of the director and set designer might be. To be fair, this was only our first encounter with them, and while we both have been engaged in the opera for years, they are only coming to it now. Naturally, then, we didn't get much concrete information, since they are only now turning their attention to our project.
[AP] You concentrate intensely when you are composing. We have talked now and then about the process of creative work. What is the moving force for your compositions, you or the piece in hand? Do you find yourself becoming the servant of the work? Can you describe the relationship? In general, what is your composition procedure—multiple or few drafts, a strong sense of the whole when you begin, a willingness to go where the composition takes you, a firm hand with the work?
[CW] You summarize what is many ways my own practice. At the start I have the basics -- length, forces, etc. I assert broad relationships and principles, harmonic and structural; but as I work and the composition begins to emerge from the fog, our relationship changes: just as you say, I begin to serve the needs of the work, to solve the problems it presents as it tries to hide its true nature. I pass over the work again and again, through multiple drafts, trying to make it concrete and coherent. When I've done as much as I can I give up.
[AP] There are occasionally very young children who know with surety what they want to do with their lives. You did not come from a professionally musical family. When and how did you become aware of the pull of music on you?Were there competing interests? If you could leap back to your childhood would you choose another profession?
[CW] I started very young, in my single digits. In those years my interest in astrophysics competed with music (composition, really, since I began to compose before I could play anything). But much to the dismay of my parents music won out. We all know the stories about people given a chance to relive their lives and fix all their errors. They merely redo the same mistakes. I probably would too, but although I can't conceive of doing anything but composing, with its ancillary performing, I sometimes wistfully daydream of having chosen a profession for which the world has some respect -- like astrophysics.
[AP] What do you see as the most notable changes in music in your lifetime?
[CW] The general answer is that music, both pop and serious, has undergone a degradation like that of culture, of society. We witness, perhaps, the death of High Culture. In my youth pop and commercial musicians had respect, reverence even, for the world of serious music. Now (especially young) serious artists pine after pop popularity and desperately try to imagine clever sales techniques to achieve it. By not standing up for high cultural values they cede the ground to an increasingly aggressive and hostile populism which seems to want the erasure of higher things. In America there has always been a lurking malign populism. Today it's stopped lurking.
[AP] You taught for several decades, you have written a book for beginning composers to help them avoid “humiliation”. Comment on teaching, learning.
[CW] There are innumerable old saws on this subject and they're all true: we're all self-taught, learn by doing, etc. I've heard you say that writing is "taught" by reading. The same is true for composing: one learns by studying scores (NOT passively listening to stuff pumped into one's head through earphones). Yet there are also recipes of a theoretical or structural or pitch-relational nature which, though they change over time, must also be learned to facilitate erecting one's musical architecture. Not to know these "grammars" is to function intuitively. Now intuition is wonderful but it requires the accumulation of life-and-art-experience for it to draw on rich resources. For the untutored young on the other hand, "intuition" is just a dreamy term for the regurgitation of (forgive me) ambient clichés. Perhaps too there is a difference between writing and the plastic and sonic arts, in that apprenticeship for the learning of professional routines may be more important for the latter. After all, the use of words is universally (if badly) taught, but not the manipulation of notes or visual things; so it may be more feasible to learn writing merely by reading than to learn composing by hearing -- but the principle remains the same.
[AP] If you could restore a handful of composers to life who would they be? If you could expunge a handful of composers from the world who would they be?
[CW] Dufay, Josquin, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky... one could go on. But I'm not sure any of these great figures would be grateful to be reborn into our world. I think most of them would be appalled to see what has happened to their legacy. As to the second part of your question, I must demur, because the ones I might expunge are all living.
[AP] You have received many prestigious awards including a McArthur Fellowship. What do you think about the award systems that seem today to fill the role in some measure as patrons of the arts? The world, of course, is always changing, but in recent decades the pace and number of changes seem to have accelerated and proliferated. George Steiner complains of an increasing lack of “fundamental literacy” (democratization?) and fears that what might be valuable in contemporary change may be overwhelmed by “...the tidal wave of ephemeral rubbish, superstition, irrationalism, and commercial exploitation.”
[CW] I used to have a slogan I often repeated: "Merit is not an absolute disqualification for recognition, but it sure doesn't help." This I have used to salve my unease over such recognition via awards as I have received -- especially when set against Charles Ives' remark (on winning the Pulitzer Prize in music) that "prizes are the badges of mediocrity". It's a perennial complaint that the people making the awards don't know what they're doing, but I wonder if the general slump into barbarism that we witness daily hasn't made the situation worse. In any case, there aren't (in music anyway) enough awards to fill the role of patron, even if they were all justly given. I can't do more than endorse and heartily agree with Steiner's complaint -- except that I'm not sure he captures the hideous enthusiasm with which our barbarians are dismantling millennia of artistic and cultural aspiration. It's strangely hopeful, on the other hand, that in my field we have a proliferation of extraordinary young performers and singers who are far more capable than we were when young. This might be a sign of cultural configurations to come: a private "monastic" band preserving civilization amid the public lazy gloom of the illiterate.
Charles Wuorinen | Compositore Nel 1970 Wuorinen divenne il più giovane compositore a vincere il Premio Pulitzer Prize (per il lavoro elettronico Time's Encomium). Il Pulitzer e l'MacArthur Fellowship sono solo due fra i molti premi, borse di studio e altre onorificenze. Il catalogo di Wourinen conta oltre 260 composizioni a tutt'oggi. Fra i suoi ultimi lavori ricordiamo Time Regained, fantasia per piano e rcestra basata su temi antichi (da Matteo da Perugia a Orlando Gibbons) per Peter Serkin, James Levine e la MET Opera Orchestra, Theologoumenon, un poema sinfonico orchestrale commissionato per il sessantesimo compleanno di James Levine, l'Ottava Sinfonia e il Quarto concerto per piano per la Boston, e Metagong per due pianoforti e percussioni. La precedente opera di Wuorinen, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1997-2001), basata s un racconto di Salman Rushdie, ha debuttato alla New York City Opera nel 2004. Wuorinen è inoltre attivo come interprete, eccellente pianista e apprezzato direttore di lavori propri come di altri del XX secolo. E' inoltre membro dell'American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Annie Proulx | Librettista Annie Proulx, nata Norwich, Connecticut nel 1935, ha studiato storia all'University of Vermont e alla Sir George Williams University (Now Concordia) di Montreal. La sua opera storica e letteraria è stata influenzata dalla scuola delle Annales e da un campo di ricerca in continua espansione. Ha lavorato come giornalista intorno ai quarant'anni e non ha cominciato a scrivere racconti prima degli anni '80. Da allora ha ricevuto molti riconoscimenti, borse di studio e premi per i suoi saggi, racconti, romanzi, fra cui il National Magazine Awards, l'O. Henry Award, il Dos Passos Prize for Literature, il National Book Award, l'Irish Times International Fiction Prize, il P.E.N.-Faulkner Award e il Premio Prize. Molti suoi racconti, tra cui “Brokeback Mountain”, sono stati tradotti in film, come anche il romanzo "Avviso ai naviganti". Con una sorta di determinismo geografico, i suoi lavori spesso offrono analisi psicologiche di persone legate a specifici contesti rurali —New England, Newfoundland, Wyoming. Vive in Wyoming, New Mexico e dove la conducono le circostanze.
Titus Engel | direttore Il debutto di Titus Engel al Teatro Real de Madrid è avvenuto con la prima mondiale di La página en blanco di Pilar Jurado nel febbraio del 2011, con grandi riconoscimenti da parte della stampa. Il Süddeutsche Zeitung lo ha definito “superbo” e la Razón ha scritto: “Il direttore svizzero Titus Engel ha condotto l'orchestra in modo stupefacente. Ha dominato l'opera in ogni aspetto e ha instaurato un rapporto magnifico con l'orchestra.” Nato a Zurigo nel 1975, Titus Engel vive oggi a Berlino. Dopo gli studi di musicologia e filosofia si è dedicato alla direzione con Christian Kluttig alla Hochschule für Musik di Dresda. Sostenuto dal Dirigentenforum del Deutscher Musikrat (2002/2005) e con una borsa di studio della David Zinman’s American Academy of Conducting e dell'Aspen Summer Music Festival nel 2003 ha intrapreso la sua carriera musicale. Come assistente Sylvain Cambreling, Marc Albrecht e Peter Rundel, ha acquisito un vasto repertorio sinfonico. Titus Engel ha diretto numerose importanti orchestre, come l'Orchestre de l`Opéra de Paris, l'Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, la Konzerthausorchester Berlin, la Mozarteumorchester di Salisburgo, la Staatsorchester di Stoccarda, la WDR-Rundfunkorchester, la WDR-Sinfonieorchester, la SWR Sinfonieorchester di Baden-Baden e di Freiburg, l'Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, la Berner Symphonie Orchester, la Zürcher Kammerorchester e la Basler Kammerorchester. Come direttore ospite lavora regolarmente con i principali ensemble di musica contempranea, fra cui Ensemble Modern, musikFabrik, Ensemble Recherche, Collegium Novum Zürich e Klangforum Wien. E' stato direttore musicale del courage-Dresdner Ensemble für zeitgenössische Musik dal 2000 al 2012.
Ivo van Hove | regista Il regista teatrale Ivo van Hove ha ricoperto ruoli centrali nella vita culturale belga e olandese, prima a capo del Het Zuidelijk Toneel a Eindhoven dal 1990 al 2000 e dal 2001 e come direttore generale del Toneelgroep Amsterdam, principale compagnia teatrale del Paese e teatro comunale ufficiale di Amsterdam. Con una media annuale di cinque nuove produzioni e più di 350 recite, la compagnia si rivolge a un pubblico di 110.000 persone all'anno. Toneelgroep Amsterdam è stato invitato in festival internazionali quali RuhrTriennale, Wiener Festwochen, Edinburgh Festival, Festival d'Avignon, e si è esibito in USA, Russia e Australia. Il repertorio Van Hove è alquanto variegato e comprende testi contemporanei e classici. INegli ultimi anni ha scoperto il potenziale dell'adattamento teatrale di opere cinematografiche. Nello specifico ha ottenuto i diritti per realizzare le prime versioni teatrali dei film di John Cassavetes e Michelangelo Antonioni, un importante riconoscimento al suo lavoro e al suo talento.
Tom Randle, tenore | Jack Twist Tom Randle ha iniziato i suoi studi come direttore e compositore, ma una borsa di studio per il canto ha determinato una svolta nella sua carriera. Ha debuttato con l'English National Opera come Tamino in Deie zauberfloete e ha ripreso con successo lo stesso ruolo alla Deutsche Oper Berlin, al Glyndebourne Festival Opera, ad Hamburg, in Nuova Zelanda e al Covent Garden Festival. Apprezzato per le sue interpretazioni vivide e intense e per la sua capacità di affrontare un repertorio assai variegato, Tom Randle è emerso come uno degli artisti più intriganti e versatili della sua generazione. Molto impegnato anche nell'attività concertistica canta con molte delle più importanti orchestre del mondo, come la Boston e la Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, le London Symphony, Philharmonic e Philharmonia Orchestras, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, The English Concert e con direttori quali as Daniel Barenboim, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Colin Davis, Myung-Whung Chung, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, Ghennadi Rozhdestvensky, Richard Hickox, Harry Christophers, Trevor Pinnock, e Ivan Fischer. Tra le sue incisioni troviamo il rolo principale nel Samson di Handel con Harry Christophers per Collins Classics, A Cotswold Romance di Vaughan Williams con la London Symphony Orchestra e Hickox per Chandos (entrambe prime incisioni assolute) e opere con orchestra di Luigi Nono per la EMI. Ha interpretato Molqui nell'innovativa versione filmica di Death of Klinghoffer di John Adams per Channel 4, disponibile in DVD, e Monostatos in The Magic Flute di Kenneth Branagh.
Daniel Okulitch, basso baritono| Ennis del Mar Il basso baritono canadese Daniel Okulitch si è segnalato come Schaunard nel cast originale della Bohème allestita da Baz Luhrmann a Broadway e vincitrice del Tony award, e da allora si è imposti come cantante e interprete di grande valore in un vasto repertorio. Nell'opera, Okulitch ha riscosso successi nei ruoli baritonali di Mozart, soprattutto Don Giovanni and Figaro, a New York, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Warsaw, Vancouver, Dallas, Portland, Detroit, Hawaii, Hamilton, e Belle Ile en Mer. Altre esperienze includono il debutto al Teatro alla Scala di Milano come Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream di Britten, Swallow in Peter Grimes per il suo esordio alla Washington National Opera e ancora La Scala, Escamillo in Carmen at Vancouver Opera. Okulitch ha ricevuto numerosi premi e riconoscimenti, fra cui il primo premio dalla George London Foundation nel 2004, The Sullivan Foundation 2004, secondo premio dalla Licia Albanese/Puccini Foundation Competition, primo premio dalla Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation nel 2004, una borsa di studio da Singers Development Fundnel 2003, quinto premio al Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition nel 2002, ed è stato Regional Finalist nelle Metropolitan Opera Auditions nel 2000 e nel 2001. Ha ricevuto nel 2006 e nel 2008 il Canada Council Grant for Professional Musicians, l'Andrew White Memorial Award e il Corbett Award quale studente del Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, dove si è perfezionato come cantante d'opera dopo essersi diplomato in canto e in opera all'Oberlin Conservatory of Music.