The world première of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Phaedra, which was planned for the 2018/2019 season, can unfortunately not be realised. In a letter to the Director of the Wiener Staatsoper, Dominique Meyer, the composer explained that he “will not be able to complete the composition of Phaedra as discussed between us. Over the previous year I have tried and tried again to work on the conception of the opera but in recent times, adverse circumstances […] have left me with no other choice but to request to be released from our contract. This has been an incredibly difficult decision and all the more, given that such a proposition from such a prestigious and prolific house as yours depends on a deep relationship of trust from both parties. From the very beginning to this very moment, you have trusted in me.”
In the place of Phaedra, the première of a contemporary work will be brought to the Wiener Staatsoper: Manfred Trojahn’s Orest, world premièred in Amsterdam in 2011. Details of the singers, leading team and performance dates will be released at the Season Presentation 2018/2019 on 19th April 2018, alongside details of the confirmed world première of Die Weiden by Johannes Maria Staud and Durs Grünbein on 8th December 2018 as well as the world première of the children’s opera in the Agrana Studiobühne Walfischgasse in January 2019.
“It is an awful pity that Krzysztof Penderecki‘s composition project, which we had many productive exchanges about over the last six years, can no longer be brought to fruition. I am, however, thankful that Mr Penderecki was able to act promptly so that we had time to alter the programme and can now show Manfred Trojahn’s Orest for the first time at the Wiener Staatsoper”, Director of the Wiener Staatsoper, Dominique Meyer comments, “The Intendant’s fear that a piece will not be ready in time for the deadline is something that has not changed since the Baroque period. The risk that it might not perhaps all come together at the end is one that we have to take in order to facilitate the creation of new works. And so I am looking at the positives, namely that two further “large-scale” world premières and two children’s opera commissions are running according to plan”.
Alongside Staud’s Die Weiden in the coming season, 2019/2020 will see the world première of Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando (libretto by Catherine Filloux based on Virginia Woolf). Following Elisabeth Naske’s Das Städtchen Drumherum (WP October 2013 in the Children’s Opera Tent), Johanna Doderer’s Fatima, oder von den mutigen Kindern (WP December 2015 in the Main Hall) and Tristan Schulze’s Patchwork (WP January 2017 in the Agrana Studiobühne Walfischgasse), two further specially commissioned works for children are each to be premièred in 2018/2019 in the Studiobühne Walfischgasse and 2019/2020 in the Main Hall.