Alexander Moosbrugger

Text by the composer after Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
in the translation of Thomas Reiser and Joscelyn Godwin
World premiere

Opernatelier (opera workshop) - a collaboration with the Kunsthaus Bregenz

19 August 2021 - 8 p.m., Werkstattbühne
approx. 1.5 hours

A man falls into "sweet slumber" and finds himself in a mysterious world of euphonious voices, erotic temptation, hungry animals and marvellous plants. In his dreams he enters weird and wonderful gardens and labyrinthine buildings. He witnesses astonishing performances such as a chess ballet and tempestuous winds. Finally he meets the woman he has long yearned for: has Poliphilo found his Polia?

For his first opera the Berlin-based composer Alexander Moosbrugger, born in the Bregenzerwald, has chosen one of the most fascinating and enigmatic books in world literature: Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, thought to have been written by the Dominican Francesco Colonna and first printed in Venice in the year 1499. The work plays with several languages; the protagonist's dreams take the reader inside colossal buildings and parks that are also shown in woodcut illustrations in the book. This is one of the reasons why Umberto Eco described it as possibly the most beautiful book in the world. For artist Flaka Haliti the woodcuts are an important source of inspiration for her design of the performance space in the Werkstattbühne. She is collaborating with the composer on a piece of  music theatre that makes the sound and the up to nine metre long pipes of the organ into a protagonist alongside the singers and a string quartet. As Poliphilo is drawn in among the trees in the forest, so audience members will be drawn by the organ pipes in amongst softly breathing sounds and winds, which they will be able to experience physically.

In the Werkstattbühne, in association with the internationally highly regarded organ building firm Rieger-Orgelbau, a piece of music theatre is being created that will transform us, too, into wanderers betwixt dream and reality.

Polia Hanna Herfurtner
Poliphilo Hagen Matzeit
Performers Anna Clementi, Jürgen Sarkiss

Performance space Flaka Haliti
Conductor Michael Wendeberg
Rieger-Orgelbau Wendelin Eberle
Scenic arrangement Leonora Scheib

Quatuor Diotima
KlangForum Heidelberg

SWR Experimentalstudio