Two operas: Sāvitri by Gustav Holst and Sancta Susanna by Paul Hindemith – will fill one of the evenings of the 25th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival. They will be performed on the 26th of March at 7.30 pm in AMU Concert Hall in Poznan, in the festival cycle Unknown Operas by Well-Known Composers, in their concert versions. One can listen to the broadcast aired on Polish Radio Program 2 and online on the Polish Radio Youtube channel.
Gustav Holst’s Sāvitri was born of the composer’s fascination with the Eastern culture. The plot talks of a legendary pair of lovers: Sāvitri and Satyavāna, and the immense force of their love which defeated death. The tale comes from one of the Mahabharata’s books, a great Hindu epic poem written in Sanskrit. Holst’s opera is a form of a vocal and instrumental meditation.
Sancta Susanna by Paul Hindemith is a kind of a contrast to Holst. The opera was written in two weeks, at the turn of January and February 1921, in the midst of the huge political and cultural ferment of the Weimar Republic. Hindemith, aged 26 at that time, was deemed to be the leading composer of the German modernism.
Sancta Susanna, which originated a hundred years ago, had its premiere in 1922 in Frankfurt. The work belongs to the 20th century world opera classics. In recent years it was staged in numerous operas, including the Paris Opera, in Milanese La Scala, Covent Garden in London and its concert version in the New York Philharmonic.
The tale is based on the text by August Stramm, considered to be the first German expressionist poet, who died in the First World War. The idea of the story focuses on the question of possession by Satan, which nowadays carries an association with The Fiery Angel by Sergei Prokofiev or The Devils of Loudun by Krzysztof Penderecki, written much later.
Sāvitri i Sancta Susanna differ in the musical language and style. Holst’s work evokes an ambience of primeval past, whereas Hindemith’s opera is the expressionism in its truest form.
Friday, 26th of March 2021, 7:30 pm, AMU Concert Hall
25th LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL
UNKNOWN OPERAS BY WELL-KNOWN COMPOSERS
Justyna OŁÓW (Sāvitri) – mezzosoprano
Krystian KRZESZOWIAK (Satyavān) – tenor
Mariusz GODLEWSKI (Death) – baritone
Katarzyna HOŁYSZ (Susanna) – soprano
Anna BERNACKA (Clementia) – mezzosoprano
Anna LUBAŃSKA (Old Nun) – mezzosoprano
Poznan Chamber Choir
Bartosz Michałowski – choirmaster
Łukasz BOROWICZ – conductor
Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra
- Gustav Holst, Sāvitri (concert version of the opera)
- Paul Hindemith, Sancta Susanna, Op. 21 (concert version of the opera)
The concert will be aired on Polish Radio Program 2 and online on the website of the Polish Radio.