The theatre world has yet again surprised the public – awarding a lengthy and “daring” London opera, in which hovering musicians as well as helicopters appear.
Mittwoch aus Licht is a six hour experimental piece by a German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. He is often quoted as one of the most important composers of the 20th century but also often seen as controversial and eccentric.
His music style is rather experimental – music composed by controlled chance, as pioneered by the French artist Marcel Duchamp and further developed by John Cage, especially in his Music of Changes (1951) as the first piece conceived largely through random procedures.
And it was this rarely performed production that was awarded “The Best Opera and Music Theatre Prize” at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards in London last week.
The Birmingham Opera Company show was staged in a former chemical plant and the award jury described it as “bold in imagination and brilliant in accomplishment.”
Another London 2012 Festival success was a community opera inspired by the 1920 Olympic cycling hero Albert “Lal” White. This was staged by Proper Job Theatre Company and Scunthorpe Co-operative Junior Choir. The production, Cycle Song, featured a cast of 1,200 and was awarded “The Learning and Participation Prize.”
RPS chairman John Gilhooly said it had been an “outstanding year” for classical music and the theatre despite the challenging economic situation, but also did not forget to mention the “true value of culture,” which is not to be forgotten.
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