Markus Stenz is not the only person to be amazed by the enormous energy and spirit of purposefulness that the now 92-year-old Hungarian composer has displayed working on his first opera.
Once more, György Kurtág has tried something completely new. For “Fin de Partie”, which sets to music the Samuel Beckett drama of the same name (English “Endgame”), is his very first foray into the genre of opera – and also by far the longest composition by this avant-gardist, acclaimed as the “master of the miniature”. He cherished the desire to set Beckett's play to music for several decades. Kurtág worked on the 450-page score for some seven years, lately in close contact with Markus Stenz, who will now conduct the first performance at La Scala in Milan on 15 November 2018.
“Extremely little happens in Beckett's play – and Kurtág matches this musically. Both have mastered the art of saying a great amount with very few notes or words,” is how Stenz outlines the score and the stage action. “The sounds that Kurtág finds for the story are inspiring and colourful: concentrated psychograms made up of both pessimistic and humorous colours.”