Composition Commission issued to Klaus Lang

Bayreuth Festival | Bayreuth Discourse, Germany


der verschwundene hochzeiter (the lost groom) is the title of a new opera composed by Austrian composer Klaus Lang with the support of the EvS Music Foundation. It is to be premiered in 2018 as part of the BAYREUTH DISCOURSE event series that has accompanied the program of the Bayreuth Festival since 2017. The series extends the stagings at the festival hall to include an artistic and academic side program offering a dialog on Wagner aiming to trigger a critical examination of the work and its impact. 

The opera’s storyline takes its cue from a legend from Gölsental in Lower Austria: a groom is invited to a wedding by a stranger. He is to enjoy himself and celebrate but only for as long as the music plays. The groom does not stick to these instructions. When he arrives home he notices that three hundred years have passed and he crumbles to dust. The music documents a space of the emptiest void to the fullest fulness. It does not aim to lure or seduce but rather to encourage the listener to enter its innermost core, to track down its countless ramifications and to explore its unexpected expanses. The journey of the groom is also our own journey that we discover as we listen to the familiar in the strange, standstill in movement and sound in silence.

For Bayreuth the project is surprising in multiple ways: Klaus Lang’s music follows on immediately from the Renaissance and Early Baroque. It manages to override the separation of time and space and thereby comes close to the works of Richard Wagner. At the same time, as a composer Lang is very distant to Wagner. Paul Esterhazy’s scenic conception allows the entire space to become a stage: the audience is surrounded by the sound of the invisibly playing ensemble and of the singers. The spatial concept creates a scenic interplay with several realities. Superimposed filmic layers are projected in a so-called mapping process so that the scenic interplay and projection can scarcely be separated from one another. For the video it was possible to enlist the acclaimed Austrian media artist Friedrich Zorn.


July 24, 26 and 28, 2018
Reichshof Bayreuth, Germany


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