By Culturekiosque Staff
COPENHAGEN, 1 SEPTEMBER 2010 The Royal Danish Theatre Opera
season opens next Sunday evening on 5 September with a grand gala premiere
of Dancer in the Dark a new opera by the Danish composer Poul
Ruders (b. 1949, Ringsted). The opera is based on Lars von Triers film
(winner of the 2000 Palme d'Or in Cannes, starring
Icelandic pop star Björk) about Selma, a poor, Czech imigrant factory
worker in 1960s rural America with failing eyesight who sacrifices her
life to ensure that her son receives an eye operation, thus saving him
from a heriditary eye disease.
"Lars von Triers movie is deeply fascinating but we are
sure that the story itself is rich enough in its material for further
interpretation. We have elected to focus on Selmas relation to her son,
Gene. What is the reaction to losing your mother? Does he agree with her
choice, and does she have the right to decide on his behalf? In our
staging we confront Selma with Gene in her afterlife, in a kind of
purgatory where she must answer for her actions and try to explain her
choices to Gene. She is therefore forced to relive her pain once again,
with the full knowledge of where things will end. And in the course of
events she discovers that Gene is perhaps not so grateful for her
sacrifice as she had made herself believe. And then the story truly
becomes painful to replay once again," said director Kasper Holten in a
press statement last week.
Poul Ruders: Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark is interpreted by Artistic Director of the
Royal Danish Opera, Kasper Holten, as a dark story of fate. Christian
Lemmerz, a controversial visual artist noted for his artistic ethos of
death and decay, has created the grand gothic set design. Principal
conductor of the Royal Danish Opera Michael Schønwandt, who also conducted
the world premiere of Poul Ruders opera The Handmaids Tale,
will command the podium. Appearing in the principal role as Selma
Jezková is Royal Danish Opera soloist Ylva Kihlberg, for whom Poul Ruders
has composed the role.
Henrik Engelbrecht has adapted Lars von Triers screenplay to operatic
libretto and rewritten Selmas songs. Maria Gyllenhoff has created the
costume design. And the lighting design is by Jesper Kongshaug.
Also appearing are: Palle Knudsen, Hanne Fischer, Guido Paevatalu, Gert
Henning-Jensen, Ulla Kudsk Jensen and the Royal Danish Orchestra.
National Danish radio broadcaster DR P2 will transmit Dancer in the
Dark live from the Opera House in Copenhagen on 11 September 2010.
A video trailer (with opera excerpts) can be viewed at the official site for the opera (Danish and
English) as well as an interview with Poul Ruders.
Dancer in the Dark is scheduled for release on DVD on the
Dacapo Records label in association with Cubus Film and DR. The release of
the DVD production, which has been made possible by generous support from
several major Danish foundations, is scheduled to coincide with the
staging of Dancer in the Dark in New York at the Lincoln
Center Festival in July 2011.
Poul Ruders: Dancer in the Dark
5 - 27
The Royal Danish Theatre
Tel: (45) 33 69 69 33
Headline photo: Poul Ruders
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