THE RED HEIFER – IVÁN FISCHER’S OPERA ABOUT THE TISZAESZLÁR TRIAL
Iván Fischer wrote a one-act grotesque lyrical opera about the Tiszaeszlár trial entitled “The Red Heifer”. The composition about Eszter Solymosi’s murder directed by Tamás Ascher and Kriszta Székely – adapting the novel by Krúdy, letters by Kossuth and poems by Lajos Parti Nagy – will premiere on 13-14 October in the Millenáris (mazsihisz.hu)
The first Hungarian concert of Iván Fischer’s compositions, who was selected last month one of the 10 best conductors in the world, promises some musical delicacies. The music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary this year, has been writing music for 15 years, and his compositions have been since performed in several countries. After his highly successful composer’s evening in Bruges last year, Iván Fischer decided to present some of his works in Hungary too. Moreover, he even wrote a new opera for the occasion. This is how The Red Heifer was composed, which deals with the Tiszaeszlár blood libel.
From all the pieces in the composer’s evening, only the Spinoza translations, a short solo cantata composed for soprano and some instruments, has been performed in Hungary so far. This is a parody of Spinoza’s thoughts on the one hand, and of its old Dutch translation on the other. The Shud Sarang sextet was inspired by Iván Fischer’s journey to India, while the La Malinconia performed in Italian analyses the melancholy of youth. The famous Goethe poem, Zigeunerlied (Gypsy Song), is also presented, which the author wrote for six witches. According to him, the actors need witchcraft and a witchy soul to be able to perform it. Zigeunerlied will be played by the stunning and amazingly talented Kobra ensemble, whose members also include Nora Fischer, Iván Fischer’s daughter.
Besides The Red Heifer, Hungarian audiences can hear the opera entitled Tsuchigumo for the first time as well. The libretto of this opera is the drama and its kabuki version known from the original Japanese Noh theatre. The performers sing in six languages in the opera, in French, Italian, German, English and Hungarian, in addition to the original Japanese.
“Please let me emphasise that I am not a modern composer, do not expect modern music. As a performer, my head is full of all types of music. Once, I decided to put down what is inside. The musical language of this cavalcade is the blend, the mix in which we live, which attacks us from the radio, from the lift, from ring tones, from concert venues. I feel I am similar to the fine artists, who collate montages from all they pick up in the streets.” – Iván Fischer.