Samstag aus Licht

Opera

Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)
Samstag aus Licht (1981-83)

Opera in a greeting and four scenes [Saturday from Light]

Samstag aus Licht (Saturday from Light) is the day of Lucifer : day of death, night of the transition to the light. Written between 1981 and 1984 it is articulated around four very different scenes (and a greeting). Samstag forms a long, mysterious prayer.

The last scene of the opera, Luzifers-Abschied, was performed for the first time by Le Balcon in 2016, for the Festival de Saint-Denis, then in 2018 at the Festival Musica, Strasbourg.

Team: 12 soloists, wind orchestra, male choir with organ
First performance of the production: June 28th, 2019, Philharmonie de Paris, Salle des concerts
Color : Black | Celestial body : Saturn | Spiritual features : understanding and intelligence

This production is supported by : Programme CERNI du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Caisse des Dépôts, the City of Paris, and Fondation Singer-Polignac.

Click here to download the programme note (in french) :

Samstag aus Licht

A film by David Daurier

Produced by : Camera Lucida, Le Balcon, Medici TV, Philharmonie de Paris, Ircam – Centre Pompidou & Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik

Watch on Philharmonie Live : 

Watch on Medici TV : 

Samstag aus Licht is Lucifer’s day:  the day of death, the dance of death, the farewell and the passage into light.  The opera was written between 1981 and 1984, and appears to be a long, mysterious prayer formed by a greeting and four scenes devoted to Michael’s brother and enemy:  his dream, his feigned death, the dance of his face, and his farewell.

Luzifers-Gruss | Lucifer’s greeting

Lucifer appears as a singer (bass).  He slumbers and dreams of a piano composition, an enthralling virtuoso piece.  He sometimes stirs and utters a few sentences, commenting on the performance.  Lucifer and the creature who is the pianist in his dream have a certain degree of like-mindedness and shared enjoyment.  At the end of the scene, he pretends to be dead.

Scene 1 : Luzifers-Traum | Lucifer’s Dream

Lucifer appears as a singer (bass). He slumbers and dreams of a piano composition, an enthralling virtuoso piece. He sometimes stirs and utters a few sentences, commenting on the performance. Lucifer and the creature who is the pianist in his dream have a certain degree of like-mindedness and shared enjoyment. At the end of the scene, he pretends to be dead.

Scene 2 : Kathinkas-Gesang als Luzifers-Requiem | Kathinka’s Chant or Lucifer’s Requiem
A black cat enters and plays twenty-four pieces intended to guide the soul once the body has died.  The accompaniment is by six percussionists, one for each of the six “mortal senses” (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and thought), all six with magical instruments, and the cat releases them one by one.  (On the death of a person, the requiem may be played as a separate work without the opera.)  Once all the senses have been freed, the black cat shrieks:  Lucifer is clearly alive and is seen as a giant face in an image projected directly onto the wind ensemble positioned on scaffolding.

Scene 3 : Luzifers-Tanz | Lucifer’s Dance
Each group of instruments in the orchestra (e.g. clarinets, flutes and horns) represents one part of Lucifer’s face;  then, one after the other, each part of the face embarks on its own “dance” (e.g. Right-Eyebrow Dance, Wings-of-the-Nose Dance, and Tip-of-the-Tongue Dance).  Michael manages to stop the terrifying dance by playing Protest, a heart-rending trumpet solo.  A few tears – crocodile tears – roll down the face of Lucifer who resumes his dance with even greater force and chases Michael away.  The musicians suddenly stop playing the score;  they are on strike, triggering protests from the theater management.  The audience is requested to leave the auditorium and to go to a nearby church.

Scene 4 : Luzifers-Abschied | Lucifer’s Farewell
At the church, twenty-six basses and thirteen tenors dressed as Franciscan monks make a solemn entrance, forming a circle around the audience and placing a dark-colored bird in a cage on the altar.  Together they sing Saint Francis of Assisi’s praise to virtue in a ceremony comprised of an entrance, thirteen parts and an exit.  After the dramatic appearance of a diabolical trombonist, they all go out onto the steps of the church and are followed by the audience.  Each singer takes a coconut and, after making a silent vow, shatters it.  The bird is released from the cage.  The singers disappear, mischievously, into the dark of night.

Translation : Shan Benson

Artistic team, for the french premiere, June 28th, 2019, at the Philharmonie de Paris. 

Maxime Pascal, musical and artistic direction
Damien Bigourdan, staging and artistic direction
Nieto, visual creation and artistic direction
Florent Derex, sound projection

Alain Muller, singing coach
Pascale Lavandier, costumes
Myrtille Debièvre, set design
Marguerite Lantz, props master
Catherine Verheyde, lighting design
Agathe Cemin, assistant stage manager

Performers
Lucifer : Damien Pass, bass
Lucifer’s dream player : Alphonse Cemin, piano
Black Cat Kathinka : Claire Luquiens (Kathinkas Gesang), Julie Brunet-Jailly (Luzifers-Tanz), flute.
Six mortal senses : Alice Caubit (la vue), Akino Kamiya (l’ouïe), Frédéric Blondy (l’odorat), Arthur Lavandier (le goût), Othman Louati (le toucher), Clotilde Lacroix (la pensée)

Lucifer’s giant face : Orchestre d’harmonie du Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris
Ribbon dancer : Emmanuelle Grach
Michaël : Henri Deléger, trumpet
Percussions : François-Xavier Plancqueel
3×13 Monks : 13 tenors, 13 basses I, 13 basses II : Chœur de l’Armée française & Le Balcon. Choir Master : Emilie Fleury
A diabolical wind player : Mathieu Adam
Organ : Ayumi Taga

Premiere of the opera
25 mai 1984, Teatro Alla Scala, Milan

First performance of the production
28 & 29 juin 2019, Philharmonie de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris
Salle des concerts – Cité de la musique
ManiFeste, Festival de l’IRCAM
Duration : 4h30 (one-hour intermission included).

DR : Meng Phu.

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