Sonntag aus Licht


Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)
Sonntag aus Licht (1998-2003)

opéra en cinq scènes et un adieu, pour dix voix solistes, une voix d’enfant, quatre instruments solistes, deux chœurs, deux orchestres, électronique et projection du son
[Dimanche de lumière]

nouvelle production Le Balcon, Philharmonie de Paris
date prévisionnelle novembre 2024
durée approximative : 4h30

Sonntag aus Licht – Dimanche de Lumière -, est le dernier des sept opéras du compositeur Karlheinz Stockhausen, réunis sous le titre Licht


Sonntag aus Licht – Sunday from Light – is the last of the seven operas written by Karlheinz Stockhausen, assembled under the name LICHT.

Salut et Scène 1 : Lumière – Eaux | Light – Waters – 52mn

Soprano | Soprano
Ténor | Tenor
Orchestre avec synthétiseurs | Orchestra with synthesizers

Effectif de l’orchestre : 2 flûtes, hautbois, cor anglais, clarinette en mi bémol, clarinette, clarinette basse, 2 bassons, saxophone baryton, deux cors, deux trompettes, cor ténor, euphonium, deux trombones, tuba, 5 violons, 5 altos.

Orchestra instruments : 2 flutes, oboe, english horn, e-flat clarinet, clarinet, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, baritone saxophone, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, tenor horn, euphonium, 2 trombones, tuba, 5 violins, 5 violas.

Scène II | Les Processions des anges | Angel processions – 41mn

Soprano | Soprano
Alto | Alto
Ténor | Tenor
Basse | Bass
Chœur a cappella |A cappella choir
Sonorisateur | Sound projection

Scène III : Images de Lumière | Light pictures – 43mn
Cor de basset | Bassethorn
Flûte | flute with ringmodulation
Ténor | Tenor
Trompette avec modulation en anneau | Trumpet with ringmodulation
Synthétiseur | Synthesizer
Sonorisateur | Sound projectionnist

Scène IV : Parfums – Signes | Scents – Signs – 58mn

Soprano (haute) | High soprano
Soprano | Soprano
Alto | Alto
Ténor (haut) | Haut ténor
Baryton | Baritone
Basse | Bass
Voix de jeune garçon | Boy’s voice
Synthétiseur | Synthesizer
Projection sonore | Sound projection

Parfums déployés pendant la scène | Scents deployed during the performance

– Lundi | MondayCuchulainn
– Mardi | TuesdayKyphi
– Mercredi | WednesdayMastic
– Jeudi | ThursdayRosa Mystica
– Vendredi | FridayTate Yunanaka
– Samedi | SaturdayUd Wood
– Dimanche | SundayFrankincense

Scène V : Hauts – Temps | High – Times – 74mn

Orchestre avec chef d’orchestre et cinq assistants | Orchestra with conductor and 5 assistant conductors
Chœur (dont cinq membres qui battent la mesure) | Choir with 5 conducting choir members 

L’orchestre est divisé en 5 groupes | The orchestra is divided in 5 groups :
Groupe 1 : 3 flûtes, 3 violons | 3 flutes, 3 violins
Groupe 2 : 3 hautbois, 3 trompettes | 3 oboes, 3 trumpets
Groupe 3 : 3 clarinettes en si bémol, 3 altos | 3 clarinets in B flat, 3 violas
Groupe 4 : 3 cors en fa, 3 bassons | 3 horns in F, 3 bassoons
Groupe 5 : 3 trombones, 3 violoncelles | 3 trombones, 3 cellos

Le chœur est divisé en 5 groupes | The choir is also divided in 5 groups :
Groupe 1 : Sopranos 1 (3+3 ou 4)
Groupe 2 : Sopranos 2 (3+3 ou 4)
Groupe 3 : Altos (4+4)
Groupe 4 : Ténors (4+4)
Groupe 5 : Basses (4+4)

Des percussions se tiennent près des 5 groupes | the following percussion instruments stand next to the 5 groups :

Groupe 1 : 1 crotale (ré)
Groupe 2 : 4 rin
Groupe 3 : 4 plate bells
Groupe 4 : 4 thai gongs
Groupe 5 : 4 sound plates

Les instruments sont joués par les assistants au chef d’orchestre | These instruments are played by the five assistant conductors.

Adieu du Dimanche | Sunday’s Farewell – 35mn
Musique électronique (5 synthétiseurs) | Electronic Music (5 synthesizers)

Création mondiale | Premiere of the opera
9 et 10 avril 2011, Opéra de Cologne | Köln Opera

Durée | Duration : 4h38mn.

Sonntag aus Licht (‘Sunday from Light’) LICHT’s final opera. Composed until 2003 and premiered in 2011, it is still a very fresh composition, full of enigmas. Stockhausen says it is the day of « mystical union of Michael and Eve » ; in a compositional perspective, it is the most abstract opera he created. Among many ideas, Stockhausen tried to expand a dream already expressed in Mittwoch’s helicopter scene : a multi-spatial music made in a shared time.

Scene 1 : Lights – Water (Sunday’s Greeting)

In a large room with eight crossed aisles, the audience is turned towards the center. Musicians are placed around the audience and in the diagonals. In a very ritualistic way, sounds are passed from one instrument to another, so that the sounds travel through the whole space.

Scene II : Angels Processions

A choir divided in 7 « angel choirs » moves all around the audience and sings about a mystical union. The theme of the mystical union is expressed in the music itself, as the independant melodies come together in the end. The choirs sing in many different languages, including arabic, english, spanish, kiswahili, hindi, german and chinese.

Scene III : Light – Pictures

4 soloists (tenor, trumpet, flute, basset-horn) play complex declinations of the Superformula, creating « mirroring » musical effects. The libretto is made of multiple texts of religious venerations.

Scene IV : Scents – Signs

Seven incenses, for each day of the week, are burned and diffused with a very mystical meaning. Also, the seven symbols of LICHT are deployed and their se- crets are revealed by six singers. In the end, a little boy in the audience is taken to the sky by a flying horse.

Scene V & VI : High – Times

LICHT’s final scene, displaying Eve and Michael’s mystical union with reminis- cences of many LICHT scenes. An orchestra is placed in a concert hall, a choir in another. Seven times, the music of one hall is faded into the other hall, using loudspeakers. In this work, marriages are celebrated among five choral groups singing love songs in Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, English, Kiswahili and five orches- tral groups. In the intermission, the choir and the orchestra exchange halls, thus enabling each listener to experience the two different but related parts.

Sunday’s Farewell

Sunday’s Farewell is a version for 5 synthesizers of the High-Times choir part.