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News - Saariaho on stage

Maarit Kytoharju
Friday, January 19, 2018
The music of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho lends itself beautifully to collaborations in the neighbouring arts including, ballet, opera and contemporary dance. 2018 brings several new and existing works to the stage.



Only the Sound Remains


Saariaho’s fifth opera, Only the Sound Remains combines two short operas inspired by Nôh dramas: Always strong (original title Tsunemasa) and Feather mantle (Hagoromo), based on translations by Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa. Conducted by Ernest Martínez Izquierdo, the French premiere of Only the Sound Remains takes place on January 23 at Palais Garnier, Opéra de Paris. The stellar cast of Philippe Jaroussky and Davone Tines return in Peter Sellars’ production which has recently been released on DVD by Warner Classics

Dates: 25, 27 January; 1, 4, 7 February 2018; Palais Garnier, Opéra de Paris
Book tickets 








La Passion in France


The celebrated production of La Passion de Simone in its specially created chamber version for La Chambre aux échos can be seen at the Opéra de Nantes on 7 and 8 October as part of Saariaho's residency at the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire. Clement Mao Takacs conducts the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire with voices of La Chambre aux échos. Aleksi Barrière directs.



Four Quartets


July brings a new stage work commissioned by SUMMERSCAPE at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. Choreographer Pam Tanowitz takes her inspiration from Eliot’s masterpiece ‘Four Quartets’, celebrating the 75th year of its publication. The expressive qualities of dance and music are central themes of Eliot’s poetry, recurring again and again as metaphors for the ineffability of human experience. Tanowitz is a leading American choreographer, widely recognised for her unflinchingly post-modern treatment of classical dance vocabulary. Saariaho’s chamber works have been carefully selected to enhance the dreamlike sense of landscape and memory alongside the spoken texts of the four poems, which will be read by the American actress Kathleen Chalfant. Abstract artist Brice Marden and sound artist Jean Baptiste-Barriere complete the creative team presenting the world premiere on July 6.



L’Amour de loin in South America

South America welcomes Saariaho’s first opera L’Amour de loin on 22 and 25 March 2018. Performances by the Orquesta del Palacio de Bellas Artes be conducted by José Arean at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The new production be directed by Mauricio Garcia with projections by Martirene Alcantara. The cast includes Finnish Soprano Pia Freund as Clémence, The Pilgrim sung by Carla Speziale and Jaufré Rudel by Michael Todd Simpson.



Circle Map

In April 2018 Bayerisches Staatsballett presents an evening of works by Wayne McGregor. In 2009 McGregor made Limen for the Royal Ballet to Saariaho’s cello concerto Notes on Light. He now returns to her music with a new work based on Circle Map. The work is built on six stanzas of poetry by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi. The verse is recorded and included within the orchestral texture creating a multi-layered and beguiling sound world. This new choreography will be presented alongside Borderlands (music: Joel Cadbury and Paul Stoney) and Kairos (music by Max Richter).

Dates: April 14, 15, 28; May 11,18; June 10, 23; July 10 2018



The Tempest Songbook


Saariaho’s ethereal cycle of songs for voice and large ensemble, The Tempest Songbook, is available to peruse online.

A strikingly theatrical setting of Shakespeare’s words, although originally a concert piece, it formed the basis of a music, dance and video show production by Gotham Chamber Opera and the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2015. Direction, choreography and Scenic Design were by Luca Veggetti, with video conception and realisation by Saariaho’s long-term creative partner Jean-Baptiste Barrière.

Click here to view images of the production. View the score

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