2016-03-13 featured press blog

Saariaho’s “Only The Sound Remains” premieres at the Dutch National Opera

It’s only two days now – time to get excited! – and “Only The Sound Remains” is going to premiere at De Nationale Opera (the Dutch National Opera) in Amsterdam. For the ones who’d like to get familiar with the project, I put together some useful links and information for further reading, just to have it all in one place!

“Only The Sound Remains” is a piece written specifically with Philippe Jaroussky’s voice in mind, and it will be staged by the legendary Peter Sellars. The composer is Kaija Saariaho. She is the first female composer who has been contracted by the MET since 1903, so it’s definitely time to remember the name if you haven’t already. Here’s a very nice introduction by the Guardian: [x]

Saariaho’s music is imaginative, colourful, drawing from various backgrounds and seems to be influenced by many sources, …  just hear for yourself! Here is a short excerpt performed for the Dutch TV Show “De wereld draait door.”

“Only The Sound Remains” is based on two separate Noh pieces. Kaija Saariaho isn’t the first western composer to get inspired by the classic Japanese plays; Benjamin Britten’s “Curlew River” is maybe one of the most famous western classical works that is based on a Noh play.

The two pieces used for “Only The Sound Remains” that share some motives but are entirely independent pieces are …

羽衣, Hagoromo, The Feather Mantle, and

“経政, Tsunemasa, Always Strong

In addition to the University of Virginia Library I linked above, there is another online resource I found very valuable, called the-noh.com: [x]

Next to Philippe Jaroussky, baritone Davone Tines is going to play the respective counterpart. In “The Feather Mantle,” it is a fisherman, in “Always Strong,” it’s a monk evoking the spirit of a dead warrior, Taira no Tsunemasa. If you never heard Davone Tines before: here he is singing a bit from Bellini’s “I Puritani,” Riccardo’s “O Elvira, Elvira, o mio sospir soave …”
A graduate from Juilliard, he is up to a couple of very interesting projects soon; you might want to keep an eye on him!

Be sure to visit the website of De Nationale Opera (The Dutch National Opera), with lots of introductions, interviews, a great video and additional information: [x]

For the dates of the performances, please see the website of De Nationale Opera, or just head over to our Concert Dates page: [x]

Finally – Toi toi toi to all of the cast and crew!





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