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Poul Ruders

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Tycho (1986)
Text Writer
Henrik Bjelke
Publisher
Wilhelm Hansen
Category
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Opera
Year Composed
1986
Duration
1 Hour 40 Minutes
Language
Danish
Soloist
Soprano, Mezzo soprano, Tenor, 2 Basses
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Programme Note
Poul Ruders Tycho (1986)
Premiere:
May 15 1987
Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
Kaare Hansen, Conductor
Helsingør Theater, Aarhus, Denmark


Cast:
1. Tycho Brahe: Danish astronomer. Bass-baritone.
2. (2 parts): Johannes Kepler: German matematician. Tenor(high, heroic) +
Christian the Fourth: King of Denmark (Spoken part only).
3. (4 parts) Henrik Rantzau: Count to Holstein. Bass-baritone.
“Time”: allegoric figure with a scythe.
Rudolf the Second: German-Roman Emperor.
Jeppe: Tycho s dwarf.
4. Christina: Tycho’s wife. Mezzo-soprano.
5. Urania: The Muse of Astronomy. High lyrical soprano.


Synopsis:
IN 1597 THE FAMOUS DANISH astronomer and astrologist, the nobleman Tycho Brahe
flees his castle cum observatory Uraniburg on one of the small islands off the
Danish coast. The newly coronated King Christian the Fourth has a grudge against
Tycho, who in 1572 discovered a new star Stella Nova by using his naked eye only;
the telescope wasn’t invented yet. This discovery gained Tycho tremendous fame
among his contemporaries within the European scientific circles.

The now weakened and embittered old man moves together with his wife Christina,
whom he raped when she was an adolescent, and Jeppe the Dwarf, his fool-servant,
whose life Tycho once saved, to the plague-infested city of Prague:

There, at the Benatky Castle, Tycho encounters the main reason for his departure
from Denmark: the young German mathematician Johannes Kepler, the only scientist
among his contemporaries Tycho acknowledges, - Tycho is in severe need of intelligent
challenge. Which he gets and with a disastrous result for himself.

The encouraging encounter with Kepler turns into Tycho's scientific and earthly
death verdict. Slowly Tycho realizes, that his own conception of the Earth as
the indisputable axes of the Universe is shattered by Kepler s theory about Earth
encircling the stationary Sun. The ancient picture of the Universe collapses, Tycho
feels deceived by Kepler who leaves the castle, shaken by Tycho's wrath.

But they meet again and reunite in a Romanza a Due at Tycho’s death bed.
The opera hovers above immense sadness and extreme ridicule - the cast is most
peculiar indeed - so in many ways "TYCHO" may be described at the best as a
"Tragic Operetta" really.

- Poul Ruders



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Performances
Reviews
...in many ways a modern opera gem in a rare and well chosen mount. There is every reason to see it
Jens Brincker, Berlingske,01/06/1987
When was the last time we've heard such a superior danish opera performance?
Jørgen Falck/Michael Bonnesen, Politiken,29/05/1987
...a welcome addition to the repertoire of the modern music theatre
Ossia Trilling, Music and Musicians,01/01/0001
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