composer — Sep 19 (Fri) 2008, 17:27 +0200

final dress rehearsal

Yesterday was the magical evening of the “final dress rehearsal” (an occasion named “general rehearsal” in practically all other languages apart from the English!) Sounded good, sung and played marvelously and acted with extreme intense by all involved. Great tension, fantastic concentration and at the same time with those “teensy-weensy” mistakes and misunderstandings that promise even more of the same stuff the first night tomorrow.
No more blogging will be done by me this week. In slightly more than 24 hours we’ll experience the reaction of all these efforts…

Bye for now,
Jonas F, composer

composer — Sep 17 (Wed) 2008, 17:12 +0200

(maybe they are) close close by

(the title is a quotation from the second scene, the so called “men’s bonding duet” between Gerardo Escobar and Roberto Miranda)

Yesterday evening was the night of the next-to-general rehearsal.
Ariel Dorfman was present, and I really felt that he appreciated the music of mine as well as the scenic conception of his drama and the performance by the house.
Today Ariel and I have had several meetings with the press. I haven’t talk so much about a single work of mine in a single day in decades…
The main impression I had from this performance first meeting with it’s audience is over all incredibly positive, almost overwhelming, in fact.
I had so many comments and sms:s after the show, so I cannot be anything but happy today.
But there are still a couple of days left…

Jonas F,
composer

composer — Sep 16 (Tue) 2008, 14:57 +0200

next-to…

Tonight we’ll have the next-to-general rehearsal of “Death and the Maiden”, as is the case and tradition of Malmö Opera this will be with invited audience. Very exciting and very scaring, indeed! Even more exciting is that the librettist Ariel is about to arrive here in Malmö just now. I’m not sure if he’s capable, with hisjet-lags, to take part of tonight’s performance, but I really hope so.
Wednesday last week, Paulina alias Erika Sunnegardh and I appeared in a famous talk-show in Swedish Broadcast P1 called “Nordegren I P1”. I got many appreciating mails and sms:s just minutes after the transmission (live broadcast – of course!). If anyone’s interested in hearing it you can mail me, and I’ll give you a link. Yesterday the same two of us, joined by Åsa, the stage director, held a kind of lecture about this show here at the theatre arranged by “Friends of Opera in Skåne”. Today’s morning rehearsals were spent on details in timing, balance etc. Tomorrow is a day when Ariel and I will meet part of, many parts of the press.

’til then CU
Jonas F,
composer

composer — Sep 15 (Mon) 2008, 02:25 +0200

Report, early morning the 15th of September.

The last night in Stockholm before I leave for the premiere in Malmö…
I’ve seen so many gifted and talented people working with Ariel’s and my œvre during these last weeks. I’ve seen three wonderful soloists, dramatic soprano Erika (Paulina), baritone Fredrik (Gerardo) and lyric tenor Joseph (Miranda), whom all have transformed my wooden tones and poor musical thoughts into pure gold. I’ve seen Bengt, the set designer’s, marvelous musical set, I’ve seen Annsofi’s magic costumes and visionary thoughts of Thorsten’s light design, as well as Lotta’s ingenious choreography, but last-but-not-least the visions of my fellow and friend Stage Director Åsa’s concept of this performance.
I’ve again met the hard-working, skilled loyalty and musical friendship from conductor Thomas and co-conductor Andreas and their “batons”, as well as from the coaches Elena and Malin together with the whole orchestra and choir of the Malmö Opera. Behind the stage and in the “back-office” I’ve enjoyed such a level of enthusiasm and loyalty among all of you “men and women” so I almost couldn’t keep me from false quoting broadcasted Gerardo in the beginning of the show by saying like: “Our opera now has a unique chance to achieve reconciliation, that’s what they need to remember” but that would be a nasty thing to say…
Instead I shout, No… - beg, plead: - Go for it, you lot! I love you all!

Jonas F
composer

P.S. In May I learned to know about the astonishing pictures of the Guatemalan photographer Luis Gonzalez Palma. Now one of his characteristically sepia toned pictures adorns the poster of our show. It’s called “La Rosa” and here it is:

composer — , 01:10 +0200

“Being Here” (or: “Welcome back, Mr. Chance”)

Quoting and making a travesty on the well known Peter Seller’s 1979 movie title (both in English and in Swedish) is my way of telling a my story of the last four-and-a-half months.
After finishing this opera by the end of April, I took a loooooong vacation. I went to Paris in June, in order to start composing another piece for voice and piano and I spend several weeks with my wonderful family. By the time of the “first reading” as the English call also the first gathering around an opera production (“first” is certainly no true!) around the first of August I planned to re-start my blog again. But…

Since then I’ve had serious problems with logging in to my blog account, but now, just about a “small week” before the premiere I finally succeeded (I really feel too awkward to tell you how), but… - Here I am again!
From now on I’ll try to tell you all about the last weeks efforts by the team in order to reach the first performance of “Death and the Maiden” – the opera!

Jonas F
composer

composer — Apr 23 (Wed) 2008, 15:04 +0200

“The Song Is Ended, but the Melody Lingers On”

Dear friends,
the morning of the 17th of April 2008, will always be remembered as the day of the completed score of “Death and the Maiden - the Opera”

Heavy books will be written on the subject, exhibitions, novels, even theatrical plays will be made…
“What happened that magic last night of his?”

Gerardo’s song to the Decaparecidos went almost tooo beautiful… ;-)
threatening dialogue between Paulina and Miranda interfolded by Mozart quotations, going to a thrilling end…
Paulina’s monologue (the true “Death and the Maiden”-song, first she is the maiden “why does it always have to be me”, but turns into the death “This time I’m going to think about myself//What do we lose by killing one of them”) follows exactly Schubert’s own song pattern. Why change a winning concept?
She starts it off with a crying shout “And why…” and then simply sings the song. - terrific effect, astonishing, breathtaking…
…ends with an even more breathtaking crescendo!
in the incidental music over to the epilogue we can again hear the sounds of the high heals on the sidewalk and the “coup-sounds” from the prologue,
and then comes a chaos over to a concert tuning,
and then Schubert…
the three last minutes (= the concert) is a compilation of the last movement of Schubert’s D810, first a couple of bars for just the quartet, where after it expands into Mahler’s string orchestra arrangement completed on top with winds an timpani added by the present composer. Exciting sound in fact!

Probably worth to complete an orchestration of the whole piece, some other time…

The collaboration with my librettist Ariel has been wonderful. Apart from being a dream of mine to come true I have to tell you all how much I’ve enjoyed working with this humble and wise writer and how much I’ve appreciated his full and enthusiastic support in “ups”, but also and even more important - in “downs”, those unavoidable moments during such a long time-spanned work as this present one.

This is the curtain of the first act, the second and even more exciting to
come… – very soon!

Jonas F, composer

tiger

composer — Mar 14 (Fri) 2008, 17:39 +0100

– One more to go!

So, I’ve just finished the next-to-last scene of the opera,
which means: – One more scene to go!
(but it’s a huuuuuuge one, the most extensive, and – of course – also the most important of the whole play!)
But, “what the h-ck”, – let’s celebrate!
pompoms.gif
More news, – Go to my temporary web-site for the opera project here and have a last look at it, the address will very soon be taken over by the Malmö opera house and the design will differ a lot. The project will very certainly benefit from that, – so far the site has been built up by my very amateurish “trial-and-error” manners.

CU soon,
Jonas F, composer

composer — Mar 7 (Fri) 2008, 01:56 +0100

Composer at work…

Dear readers,
There hasn’t been too much to read in this blog for a while, but it all depends on the fact that I’ve been working like a dog, day and night, night and day…
I’m very satisfied with the thrilling start of the second act, but as frustrated with the amount of time spent on making this out! I should be very close to the end of the whole composing project by now, but are still about to start with the very last scene…
I also have fewer posts in my blog than my daughter Gunnel’s, which she started by the middle of January – this year! (If you are a Swedish reader you can follow her adventures on the seven seas onboard the Wallenius Marine’s vessel “Elektra” – named from the opera! at: http://gunnels.se )
Please, accept my apologies, but I have to go back to work!

Yours, Jonas F,
composer

composer — Feb 11 (Mon) 2008, 23:51 +0100

First Act completed!

Dear patient readers,

at 6 o’clock AM the 1st of February I shut down my computer after finishing the last scene of the first act. (I regard morning hours before I go to bed as counted belonging to the day before, in other words – the first act was closed during January – as calculated… ;-)
The first act is somewhere around 65 up ’til 70 minutes in durata, which I think of as almost a perfect length.
My intention is to make the second act a bit shorter than that, and I’m already at full work. The past week, though, I spent, being totally abstemious from composing, on two islands. First Gotland and Visby during the same Friday (I wasn’t very awaken, though almost ridiculously happy during the board meeting that day.) and then three days in the beginning of last week at “Dark Music Days” in Reykjavik, Iceland, (but also an afternoon in the famous “Blue Lagoon”) – good company, excellent food! (I’ve eaten smoked puffin meat for the first time in my life – thank you, and thanks to you, Kjartan!)
Now I go for the second act!

Jonas F,
composer

Myrkir Logo

composer — Jan 31 (Thu) 2008, 00:56 +0100

The sooner, the better…

Good evening!
I thought (and surely hoped) that my next post would be me sending a triumphal trumpet fanfare announcing the fact that I had reached the final double barline of the first act, but that will have to wait until after some more hard working nights. I’ve just spent two night sessions instead making a slight revision of the third scene. My dear friend and the coming stage director of the piece Åsa, at the moment temporary residing in Paris, called me the other night with some very nasty opinions about the musical start of the scene. She thought that it didn’t carry the necessary level of complexity!! I must admit that it is quite hard for a composer of music and calling it contemporary to hear such an opinion, but after listening through it several time I had to confess to myself and to you all that she was completely right! It didn’t need much, just another vague layer of something different… and now it’s there! In order to fulfill the musical shape I also needed to put the same salt to some of the final bars of the scene as well.

- Thank you, Åsa, it hurt, I felt miserable, but it was necessary…
Better now, than two weeks before the premiere!
Now, I’ll go on with scene 4 and will try to forget and forgive. I actually reached the final bar of act one a couple of nights ago, and the rest is adding spices and make some polishing. I’ll be back soon…

Jonas F
composer