Music Theatre | 2011


Neumond explores the liminal zone of adolescence, the
developmental phases when attachment is still primarily parental, but there is nevertheless increasing openness to peers,
when defence mechanisms are not yet organised, and apparently
achieved positions can easily slip back to the previous status quo.
This is presented through the compositional analysis of one of
the main scenes of The Magic Flute, in which the Queen of the
Night orders Pamina to kill Sarastro.
The drama involves a double bind: Pamina must either obey her
mother and commit a heinous crime, or else follow her own
conscience, and hence defy her mother's command and sever her primary affective connection. Indeed "Zertrümmert sei'n auf
ewig alle Bande der Natur"
 ('May all the bonds of nature be
shattered!') is the Queen of the Night's threatened curse for
disobedience. During the scene, we can hear the voices of
contemporary adolescents, as if the main dialogue were an
archetype of the dawning of doubt, in the developing mind, about
going along with one's parents and about that relational bond
A congeries of declarations, aspirations, expectations and
requests, now audible, apparently belong to the collection of a
Magic Flautist, who surveys the action from on high, a deus ex
 cum Sorter of Messages cum Master of Time. He can
freeze the course of events, bringing even the Pamina - Queen of the Night dialogue to a halt.
Meanwhile, as if from a subterranean region, a subterranean
composite male voice emerges, a sort of intensified quintessence
of Mozart’s Sarastro. A source of continuity and fluidity, it is
like an aural humus that fosters the complex development of
Pamina and the others, who are now challenged by real-life
duties, even as they attempt to come to terms with dreams and hopes.
Mozart’s original scene between the Queen of the Night and
Pamina is quoted in an adaptation for chamber ensemble,
though it is fragmented and punctuated by various interventions
and reflections of the adolescents who observe and
empathetically react to the dramatic mother-daughter dialogue.
Pamina presents herself in accordance with the Mozart-
Schikaneder dramaturgy, and thus switches from her few
spoken lines to singing, while a prey to panic, confusion, sadness
and even despair. Extensive interpolations connect the
Mozartian operatic world with the 'remake' and explain
Pamina's shifting back and forth.
Other characters, such as the Magic Flautist, and the
disembodied voice of Sarastro produced by a male vocal
ensemble, are emanations of Mozart's score that pass through
the history of music theatre to reach new present-day incarnations.
Fragments from Mozart will inform the new score, a liminal but
perpetual presence, generating light and shadows, and
sustaining tensions and suspense.
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Chamber opera for a young audience based on Die Zauberflöte by W.A. Mozart
for soloists, vocal ensemble and chamber ensemble (2011)
Actor.S.S.T, Vocal ensemble (T.Bar.B), trumpet, horn, trombone, viola, cello
contrabass and percussion
Text by Kristo Sagor
Dramaturgy by Anselm Dalferth
Commission: Nationaltheater, Mannheim

First performance:  Nationaltheater Mannheim, 1 July 2012
Benedikt Kauff (Actor)
Sophie Sauter (Soprano)
Antje Bitterlich (Soprano)
Benedikt Nawrath (Tenor)
Georg Gädker, Magnus Piontek, Timo Schabel (vocal ensemble)
Soloists from the Nationatheater Orchestra, Joseph Trefton (conductor)
Christian Pade (Direction)
Publisher: Edizioni musicali Rai Trade
Duration:  ca. 60 m