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World Premiere: Jan Müller-Wieland’s “The Little Ring” in Regensburg

The Regensburg Singing and Music School is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2010. For this occasion, they searched for a suitable programme highlight to appropriately celebrate this jubilee, and found one with the Munich-based composer Jan Müller-Wieland.

The composer and Professor of Composition Jan Müller-Wieland relates that the Regensburg Singing and Music School asked him in the summer of 2008 if he would write an opera to celebrate the occasion of their centennial. It was to be composed for children (their pupils) and a few adults (a few teachers to lend support). “Since I had meanwhile assimilated sufficient craftsmanship and experience, I thought I could handle the technical limitations and work within them empathically – not at all an easy task. Put another way: by concentrating on the point ‘children making music with my notes’ I did not feel at all limited.”

The world premiere of Müller-Wieland’s musical fairytale “The Little Ring” will be given on 28 July, with Matthias Schlier serving as music director, Rebecca Rosenthal in charge of production.

The original idea was to more or less retell Wagner’s gigantic trilogy “The Ring of the Nibelungs.” “Hardly with violence,” as Müller-Wieland comments, “without consecration or an ideal world, but as an odyssey of a little ring that gives love and trust to a youthful couple.” Müller-Wieland’s music to this idea contains not a single note of Wagner. Nature, the animals and the final fire are all represented by large children’s choirs. Older music-school pupils sing the parts of a sleepy King, his brother Sly Fox, a somewhat crazy Queen and her sister (an Apple Goddess). Alpha-Strich, on the other hand, is a child actor; his name can be understood as a pun relating to the Schwarzalben and ring-thief Alberich. He is the leader of the robots. These are both semi-dwarfs and semi-machines. In the second act (after a break) Alpha-Strich is bringing up another boy-actor. He is called Siggi and doesn’t know who or where his parents are. Siggi finally falls in love with the cheeky girl-actress Schönwilde. Three mermaids (Walla, Wella, Walle), a forest-bird and an apple tree are represented by five girls’ voices. They form a natural world which ultimately helps the young people – despite technology and the belief in technical progress – to find happiness.

28 July 2010
Singing and Music School, 100th anniversary
World premiere: Jan Müller-Wieland
”The Little Ring”. Musical fairy-tale for children and adults after the Libretto by Birgit Müller-Wieland
Based on Wagner / no parody / no citation of Wagner / no Walkyrie / all narrated as a musical fairytale
Music director: Matthias Schlier
Charge of production: Rebecca Rosenthal


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