World première of Olga Neuwirth’s “Orlando” – commissioned by Wiener Staatsoper
On 8 December 2019 the world première of Olga Neuwirth’s opera Orlando, based on the homonymous novel by Virginia Woolf, will take place at the Vienna State Opera. Vienna State Opera Director Dominique Meyer commissioned the opera from the Austrian composer in 2014. The librettists are the Franco-American author and playwright Catherine Filloux and composer Olga Neuwirth.
Orlando is Virginia Woolf’s first big literary success. Woolf is to be considered one of the most prominent classics of English modernism. The central theme of the novel is the interlocking of gender identity, love and artistic creativity. Personal and social realities are cracked in a poetic and cunning way.
Unlike the original story, which ends in 1928, this exploration of time and gender through the centuries continues right up to the year 2019 in Olga Neuwirth’s “opera in 19 scenes”. Olga Neuwirth’s music theatre opens a door into the realm of what has been simultaneously experienced, read and heard, of what is known and felt – in other words, into the realm of fiction shaped by memories. “Ever since I was a child I have been interested in everything from the arts to politics, from the sciences to architecture and human psychology (…) I have let myself be inspired by the small and big things that the world has to offer, by the wonderful diversity of life, and I see this reflected in Orlando. For it is a love of oddities, of the paradoxical, the grotesque, virtuosity, exaltation and exaggeration that are the essence of this fictional biography, which aims to create a new morphology of a narration which is in a constant flow to create a fluid form. At all times it is also about (…) a sophisticated and highly subtle form of sexual attraction that rejects being pigeonholed in any one gender. As well as about refusing to be patronised and treated in a condescending manner – something that continually happens to women, with no end in sight”, says Olga Neuwirth.