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The Exterminating Angel (Libretto)

Thomas Adès

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Adès’s third opera, The Exterminating Angel premiered at the Salzburg Festival in July 2016. Based on Luis Buñuel’s surrealist classic El ángel exterminador, the opera sees a collection of society’s grandees inexplicably trapped in a room.

The libretto, adapted from the original Buñuel-Alcoriza screenplay by the composer together with the director Tom Cairns brilliantly captures their descent into anarchy. Featuring a jaw-dropping 15 principals (who remain on stage for the majority of the piece), The Exterminating Angel is a true ensemble opera, and the skill with which Adès delineates the many intricacies and undercurrents present over its densely-packed span (just under two hours plus interval) is breathtaking. Like the shipwrecked characters of The Tempest, the cast of this new opera are held in a state of entrapment and dramatic stasis. Like the glittering high-society world of Powder Her Face, the dinner party guests are denizens of a nightmarish world of aristocratic pretension.

Publisher: Faber Music

ISBN: 0571539696

Item Code: 0571539696

Price: £12.99
Availability:In stock Territory restrictions apply, see Add. Info

Genre(s): Opera, Contemporary

Language: English

Territories: Item available Worldwide

‘A turning point for Adès and, it felt, for opera itself.’
 The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 31 July 2016
‘Some of Adès’s most powerful orchestral writing… The music is constantly fascinating… Cairns’s staging is as meticulously detailed as Adès’s score.’
The Guardian (Andrew Clements), 29 July 2016
‘Packed full of provocation and ideas… Amidst the brutal descent into anarchy, Adès’s skill at being ironic shines through time and again. It’s not every day that the premiere of an experimental opera receives a standing ovation.’
Der Spiegel (Werner Theurich), 29 July 2016
‘Intoxicating and at times quite brutal; for all its scorching passion, the opera leaves one chilled to the bone’
The Times Literary Supplement (Guy Dammann), 19 August 2016
‘Adès is as compelling as any contemporary practitioner of his art because he is, first and foremost, a virtuoso of extremes. He is a refined technician, with a skilled performer’s reverence for tradition, yet he has no fear of unleashing brutal sounds on the edge of chaos. Although he makes liberal use of tonal harmony he subjects that material to shattering pressure. He conjures both the vanished past and the ephemeral present… Like Berg, the 20th-century master whom he most resembles, he pushes ambiguity to the point of explosive crisis… Never have Adès’s extremes collided more spectacularly… in his hands Buñuel’s cool, eerie scenario takes on a tragic volatility… Throughout, Adès pulls off the Stravinskyan feat of making prior styles sound like premonitions of his own… Liberation is achieved not only by a ritual of repetition but also through a visionary aria for Leticia… When the spell of immobility resumes, seraphic harmonies give way to a colossal, demonic setting of fragments of the Libera Me, with bells ringing anarchic changes. On this note of mystical dread the opera closes, no exit in sight.’
The New Yorker (Alex Ross), 22 August 2016