World premiere of King's composer's first opera
From Huliq.com - 22 November, 2006
Into the Little Hill, composed by George Benjamin, the internationally renowned composer and conductor and Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King's, premieres in Paris tonight (22 November). The opera marks the centrepiece of a retrospective of Professor Benjamin's works by the 35th Festival d'Automne.
The opera is a collaboration between George Benjamin and the English playwright Martin Crimp. The lyrical tale is based on an old story of a pact made between a statesman and a bizarre stranger before an election, and the consequences suffered when, once elected, the statesmen does not honour his promise. The opera is written for two voices with the multiple parts sung by Anu Komsi and Hilary Summers. Franck Ollu conducts the Ensemble Modern orchestra.
Commissioned by the Paris Festival d'Automne and other partners, there are two further performances of Into the Little Hill at the Opera Bastille, Paris. The Festival d'Automne was created in 1972 by Michel Guy, Georges Pompidou's Minister of Culture and has become a world-renowned celebration of new music, theatre, visual arts and dance. The opera will tour to Amsterdam, New York, Frankfurt, Liverpool and Vienna over the next two years.
Since George Benjamin's appointment as the Henry Purcell Professor of Composition in 2001 he has had a number of celebrations of his work. The London Symphony Orchestra devoted a series of nine concerts throughout their 2002-3 season to Professor Benjamin's music, entitled BY GEORGE! There have also been major retrospectives of his work in Brussels, Tokyo, Berlin, Strasbourg and Madrid.
He first came to public prominence when his work Ringed by the Flat Horizon was performed at the BBC Promenade Concerts in 1980. His other acclaimed works include A Mind of Winter, At First Light, Antara, Upon Silence, Three Inventions, Viola, Viola and Palimpsest.
Professor Benjamin has recently been awarded the fourth Roche Commission. The commission, from healthcare group Roche, is for work from outstanding composers of contemporary music. The world premiere of this composition will be performed on 30 August 2008 as part of the Lucerne Festival Summer in Switzerland.
The Festival d'Automne, a not-for-profit organization, commissions and presents original and experimental work not previously produced in France. It provides access to non-western cultures by featuring major presentations from a variety of different countries.
Further performances of Professor Benjamin works during the Festival d'Automne include:
George Benjamin, Three Intentions and At First Light, and Wolfgang Rihm Gedrängte Form performed by the Ensemble Modern conducted by George Benjamin. 27 November, Opéra national de Paris – Bastille / Amphithéâtre
George Benjamin Palimpsest and Dance Figures, Alexandre Scriabine Poème de l'extase, Maurice Ravel Daphne et Chloe – 2nd suite performed by the Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris conducted by George Benjamin. 19 December, Opéra National de Paris – Bastille