Opera in One Act | 65 minutes
Libretto by Alasdair Middleton
Hn - Perc - Acdn - Hp - Vln - Db
Commissioned by Opera North following the success of The Adventures of Pinocchio this chamber opera is written for a young audience but appeals to all ages. Inspired by the ancient Finnish folk-epic, the Kalevala, the tale is one of adventure and tasks of mythological magnitude not to speak of the rather grisly dismemberment of the hero.
Accompanied by a folk-inspired band, 6 singers play 10 characters and chorus. The opera celebrates the power of song, in the magic spells sung by the hero, Lemminkäinen; in the stratospheric writing for the Swan; and, most of all, in the finale, as the Mother sings her son back to life.
Lemminkäinen leaves his Mother to go north in search of a wife. He meets the witch Louhi, who tells him she has a girl who can make the sun sigh and the moon ache. To win this girl, Lemminkaïnen must hunt down the Devil’s Elk, ride the Devil’s Horse, and shoot the Swan on Death’s River. Before he can accomplish this final task, our hero is himself slain, dismembered and flung into the river. The Mother comes looking for her son, and magically sings him back to life.
Commissioned by Opera North
EP71962 - Available from Edition Peters
Banner image: Theater Chemnitz © Dieter Wuschanski
Opera North, UK, November to December 2009
Theater Chemnitz, Germany, December 2011 to January 2012, February to April 2013 (sung in German)
Opera North with the Wrong Chord, UK, Linbury Studio Theatre, ROH April 2015 and touring