Caught up in guilt

Manfred Trojahn’s opera “Orest”. New production at the Wiener Staatsoper

The Wiener Staatsoper is to stage Manfred Trojahn’s opera “Orest” on 31 March 2019 in a new production. In his music theatre work in six scenes, premiered at the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam in December 2011, Manfred Trojahn reappraises in his own libretto the myth of the matricide. Orestes is a sufferer who tries to free himself from the power of the gods. He alternates, according to the composer, between heteronomy and the vision of a new life: “He makes only one mistake: he thinks that he can leave the guilt behind him – and only much later does he realise that he has to live with this guilt in order to overcome it.”

Three female figures – Elektra, Hermione and Helena – embody differing characters. The masculine power of the gods appears as a double figure, Apollo and Dionysus, who represent two sides: the political cynic and the sensual seducer. The musically impressive starting point of the opera creates a special link: a vision of Orestes trapped in his torment, music from six female voices, at times coupled to six solo violins, which fill the entire auditorium with sound. “I have avoided calling them Erinyes, for I think more of mental processes than of mythical beings. And they are also Clytemnestra’s voice multiplied many times. This music always returns when Orestes is troubled by his pangs of conscience.” The end is open: “Whether or not Orestes has found the way? I cannot answer that. Like all my operatic heroes, he leaves at the end without giving us an answer to our questions.”

31 March 2019 Vienna (Staatsoper)
Manfred Trojahn: Orest. Music theatre work in six scenes. Libretto: Manfred Trojahn
Conductor: Michael Boder; production/set design/lighting: Marco Arturo Marelli
Other dates: 5, 7 and 10 April 2019
Live stream: performance of 5 April 2019 at www.staatsoperlive.com
More information: www.wiener-staatsoper.at