Legendary American minimalist composer Philip Glass has been specially commissioned for Austria’s newest opera house’s opening night, April 12. Glass’s latest opera, “The Lost (Spuren der Verirrten),” adapts Austrian playwright and novelist Peter Handke’s work of the same name under the direction of David Poutney and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz.
For his adaptation, Glass has created an ensemble piece featuring the interdisciplinary aims of the Linz Opera itself, which was specifically designed to present a range of genres from Opera to musicals, dance and ballet, to orchestral works. Despite these formal variations, the opera stays true to Handke’s play, which premiered at the Berliner Ensemble to great critical acclaim in 2007. Characters lose names in exchange for letters, furthering abstraction present in the story line. Critics cited at the time that the play not only lacked a plot but also lacked any aspiration towards plot at all, perhaps mirroring a lack of directionality within society itself.
Dubbed Europe’s most modern opera house, the new building, which began construction in 2009, features a rotating stage, 32 meters in diameter (105 feet). This allows for a unique opportunity to present or produce multiple productions simultaneously. In the opening week alone, the house will host productions of Dana Rowe’s 1987 musical “The Witches of Eastwick,” the Austrian premier of “Campo Amor,” a ballet based on Torquato Tasso’s 16th century epic, “Gerusalemme Liberata,” and Richard Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier.”
See an animated rendering of the stage below: