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Lera Auerbach’s “The Blind“ in New York

During the course of the Lincoln Center Festival (6 to 28 July 2013) Lera Auerbach’s a cappella opera “The Blind“ after Maurice Maeterlinck’s “Les Aveugles“ will receive its American premiere on 9 July 2013 in New York. It is a slightly revised version of this choir opera, which was composed in 2001 and premiered in Berlin on 13 October 2011.

The audience members will be blindfolded for the duration of the performance.

Further performances take place from 10th to 14th July (8 PM) in the Lincoln Center.

The composer comments on her work:
“Some works have a destiny of their own, independent of the intentions of their authors. They arrive, unannounced, slam the door in your face, take residency in your house and boss you around.
In the summer of 1994, I was a student at the Aspen Music School, taking piano lessons with Joseph Kalichstein and spending every moment I could to read books, which my parents were sending to me all the way from Siberia. Slowly, one parcel at a time – our large library was following me to the US. I still remember the smell of the thick blue volume of the Maeterlinck’s plays, that peculiar blend of old paper and print; smell, which is forever associated in my memories with my childhood and our home in Russia. The moment I opened ‘The Blind’ I had a jolt of recognition: ‘This is a perfect anti-opera or, perhaps, an a capella opera,’ was my first thought. ‘This is insane, there is no such thing as an a capella opera, this is just not possible!’ was my second thought. And before I knew it – I started sketching the libretto and the thematic material. A few weeks later, by the end of the Aspen Music Festival, I had a complete manuscript of the opera. To this day it remains one of the strangest creations in my catalog. It was not commissioned, nobody seemed to want it. So, it went into my desk, where it remained for many years until 2011, when Berliner Kammeroper found out about its existence and asked to see the score.
Shortly after the Berlin premiere, the Stanislavsky Theater in Moscow presented their own production of ‘The Blind.’ For the overture I selected an electronic piece, which I composed in 1993 ‘After the End of Time.’ Its post-apocalyptic soundscape set the desired emotional frame for the opera. The Overture was omitted in Berlin and shortened for the Moscow production. Lincoln Center will be the first one to present it in its entirety.
When John La Bouchardière approached me about producing this opera in the dark, I welcomed the idea. Previously, I had the unique experience of attending ‘Dialogues in the Dark’ in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum. In our modern society we tend to rely on our vision above all other senses, yet we struggle to communicate and to truly ‘see’ and know each other. By allowing other senses to take over, although feeling disoriented and lost at first, we can discover and enrich the understanding of who we truly are. Religious symbolism underlying this opera is amplified by this ‘unseen’ staging.
By wearing a blindfold – one surrenders to the unknown, to the vulnerability of uncertainty. The illusion of predictability is stripped off, and one is left alone with questions. Questions often reveal more than answers.
I personally look forward to not seeing this visionary production.”

9 July 2013
New York
Lincoln Center, 8 PM
American premiere: Lera Auerbach
”The Blind“. A cappella opera for 12 singers after Maurice Maeterlinck’s “Les Aveugles”
John La Bouchardière (stage direction)
Julian Wachner (direction)


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