Orchestra of the National Theatre Opera
Kühn Choir of Prague
Premiere: December 17, 2015
The major trait of the American composers and founders of the New York-based organisation Bang on a Can Michael Gordon (b. 1956), David Lang (b. 1957) and Julia Wolfe (b. 1958) is an openness to new ideas and various musical genres, present and past, owing to which they are able to reach out to a relatively wide audience. Czech music-lovers were afforded the opportunity to see them within a Bang on a Can All-Stars concert on 1 June 1999 at the Prague Spring festival. Their creations have been regularly performed by Petr Kofroň and the Agon Orchestra. Lost Objects (2001) is a post-minimalist oratorio for one soprano, two countertenors, a mixed chamber choir and a Baroque orchestra, combined with a rock band and a DJ, who remixes the music in independent entries, transforming it into a metaphor of loss, of which the piece gives an account. The theme of Lost Objects is explored thoroughly, from various angles, observing it in daily life, in private, in the everyday rituals, in individual existence, while also touching upon spiritual areas. Within the 11 parts of the text, the librettist Deborah Artman has summed up in a pregnant contraction the various forms of losses every one of us faces every day: ranging from losses of banal things to irreplaceable losses, including loss of understanding among people. The composers have only loosely linked up to the form of Baroque oratorio, with the Baroque music being merely referred to by exposition of the vocal soloists, the chamber choir and orchestra made up of acoustic instruments in Baroque configuration and historical tuning. The vocal soloists, choir and orchestra are accompanied by a small rock band. The DJ’s entries draw the active music expression towards electronic music without live musicians within the “other losses” metaphor, on which the oratorio reports. Lost Objects was premiered in a staged performance in 2001 in Dresden.
Approximate running time: 1 hour, no intermission
The present New Stage production is performed in an authorised version without a DJ, with mezzo-sopranos instead of countertenors, and in modern tuning (442 Hz).All instruments and voices are amplified.