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albin fries nora webAlbin Fries: Nora partly staged version in Budapest, 14. December 2018 (Performers: Yanis Benabdallah, Zsuzsanna Ádám, Szilvia Dobrotka, Béla Laborfalvi Soós)The Finals of „Key to the Future” Opera Composition Competition by Bartók Plus was held, December 14th at the Solti Hall of the Budapest Music Academy. The four finalist operas: Jana Eyrová (Jane Eyre) by Juraj Filas, Boszorkányvér (Witch-heritage) by Péter Andorka The Stone Angel by Valentin Dubovszkoj, and Nora by Albin Fries were performed in partly staged version.

The professional jury consisting of Péter Eötvös composer, holder of the Kossuth Prize, Gyula Fekete composer, vice-president of Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Gergely Kesselyák conductor, artistic director of Bartók Plus, Marco Taralli composers and Vasily Barkhatov decided that Albin Fries’ opera, Nora was the winner of the competition and will be performed at the next Opera Festival in Miskolc in 2019.

And here's a sample from the opera in mp3 » (Albin Fries: Mein Garten)

Contestants for the Opera Composition Competition by Bartók Plus in 2018 hugely outnumbered their earlier counterparts. The preliminary jury had to handle 6440 pages of score and approximately 30 hours of music to decide which of the 19 applications should be shortlisted for the Finals.

 

operaverseny2018 eredmenyhirdetes webThe jury on stage (from left): Gergely Kesselyák, Péter Eötvös, Gyula Fekete, Vasily Barkhatov, and Marco Taralli at the background

Key to the Future

“Key to the Future” Opera Composition Competition has been advertised by Bartók Plus Opera Festival to draw attention to the need for new "popular operas" conceived in the spirit of the Artistic Manifesto of the festival, that are capable of luring back large audiences to the opera houses.
For the competition addressing contemporary composers – 5 Hungarian, 1 Austrian, 1 British, 1 Spanish, 1 American/French, 1 Israeli, 1 Czech (2 submissions), 1 Guatemalan, 1 Czech/Slovak, 1 Brazilian, 2 Polish, 1 Italian and 1 Russian composer – have submitted their works in 2018.

 

Albin Fries: Nora

The poor Georgian music student Arthur Sonnenfels (mezzo soprano) in Vienna falls in love with Nora the day before he immigrates to Brazil. They spend the night together. Arthur leaves, and is further contact attempts and marriage plans fail because of the resistance of Nora's parents, who destroy Arthur's letters. When Arthur returns to Vienna 20 years later as a heart-sick man (now tenor), he is a famous composer. But his biggest aim, to express love in music did not succeed.

albin fries webAlbin FriesWhen Arthur meets the young lady Desiree in the park, he believes to recognize Nora, the great love of his youth, and suffers a heart attack. Desiree brings him home and Arthur recognizes in Desiree his and Nora's daughter, whose existence he knew nothing of. Nora died just a short time ago. Suddenly he recognizes the essence of absolute, pure love. When he wants to set this love to music, he suffers another heart attack and dies. The opera ends with his love music he finally found.

„My plan was to write a counterpart to the intellectual operas of today, an opera about love once again. Love is apparently no longer presentable with atonal contemporary musical means. The intellectual or apocalyptic operas of our time also seem no longer interested in a theme that has dominated virtually all the operas of the past. I purposely chose a sentimental libretto. Since my musical style is late Romantic tonal, the story plays between 1890 and 1910. What is the message of the opera? Perhaps that the protagonist Arthur can only understand the pure quality of love by loving his child.” (Albin Fries)

 

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