In Hans Werner Henze’s opera »L’Upupa«, premiered at the Semperoper the season before last, the itinerant youthful hero Al Kasim summarises the work’s central theme in one sentence: »The journey is never-ending«. Henze’s new work for the stage also involves a change of location, although at the close of proceedings the action seems to have achieved a certain finality. But is this merely illusory? The Ruhr valley is all industrial gloom viewed against Naple’s dolce-vita-far-niente. The contrast in location could not be greater, and it is between these two poles that the protagonists oscillate. A German tourist group, which includes Jan-Philipp and his fiancee Gisela, are enjoying a Neapolitan early summer. Gisela succumbs to the heady atmosphere and falls in love with the tour guide Gennarino, a modern counterpart to the crafty and scheming Pulcinella from commedia dell’arte. However, any great romance between Gisela and Gennarino is inconceivable. Even their new life together in Oberhausen proves unmanageable, involving a litany of slights, ugly scenes and hurt feelings, as well as visions of crises and conflicts. Can this really be the end of the journey?
Musictheatre by Hans Werner Henze, Christian Lehnert and Michael Kerstan For singers, actors, mixed little choir and instruments Performed in German with German surtitles
Running time 1 hour 15 minutes
Premiere 20 Nov 2010