Parlando: The COC Blog

12/15/2011

Getting to Know Kaija Saariaho's Music

Following last winter's Nixon in China, by celebrated American composer John Adams, our audience once again has a chance to hear an opera written by a living composer: Kaija Saariaho's Love from Afar. Love from Afar has been produced all over the world since its premiere at the Salzburg Festival in the year 2000, and is one of the 21st century's most successful operas.

Still, there's a good chance you're less familiar with Saariaho's music than Puccini's. With the help of YouTube, you can get to know some of Saariaho's works, and publisher Chester Novello has made detailed program notes available for many of her compositions.

You'll also have the opportunity to hear some of these works (as well as see her in the flesh) in some upcoming free concerts at the Four Seasons Centre: on Jan. 31, the Elmer Isler Singers will perform some of her chamber and vocal music, and on Feb. 2 there will be a concert of her vocal works performed by members of the Ensemble Studio. The composer will attend both concerts, as well as host the Feb. 2 concert and participate in a Q&A with the audience.

Lonh (meaning "distant" or "far away"), a work for soprano and electronics, is closely related to Love from Afar and was in fact composed as a "study" for the opera, with some of its melodic material appearing in the opera's score. The text derives from a poem by the real-life Jaufré Rudel, the medieval troubador who is the opera's protagonist. The full text and program notes can be found at Chester Novello. You'll have a chance to hear this work performed live at the Feb. 2 free concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

 

Karita Mattila performs Parfum de l'instant with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra:

 

These videos of Prelude, for piano, and Couleurs du vent [program notes], for the flute, allow you to follow along with the score

 

Many excerpts from Love from Afar itself can also be found online, including a visually stunning trailer for the production that will be coming to our stage.

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink


Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001