Das Jagdgewehr – The Hunting Gun (2016–18)

Opera in 3 acts; Libretto by Friederike Goesweiner based on the novella by Yasushi Inoue
German version based on the translation by Oscar Benl
commissioned by Bregenz Festival
WP: 15.08.2018, Bregenz (A), Werkstattbuehne | Michael Boder (music director), Ensemble Modern, Schola Heidelberg, Karl Markovics (director), Katharina Woeppermann (stage & costume design), Bernd Purkrabek (light director), Walter Nußbaum (choir director) | cast: Poet (Robin Tritschler), Josuke Misugi (Andrè Schuen), Shoko (Sarah Aristidou), Midori (Giulia Peri), Saiko (Olivia Vermeulen)

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Shoko (soprano) – Midori (soprano) – Saiko (mezzo-soprano) – Dichter (tenor) – Josuke Misugi (baritone) – chorus (7 singers: SSMezATBarB)

Programme note

When I read the story of The Hunting Gun for the first time, I was immediately captured by its timelessness. It addresses questions encountered and recognised by absolutely everyone involved in relationships with other individuals, myself included, such as whether to stay or leave, speak out or stay silent, hold on or let go. The central focuses of the work are the illusions we maintain in almost every relationship, as well as the ultimate, profound loneliness inherent in every human being.

Three women, who have each misled and been misled in different ways, describe their relationship with a man, the owner of the eponymous hunting gun, in letters written from a wide variety of perspectives. This figure turns up enigmatically in the life of the narrating poet, and provides the external impetus for this record of events.

Set against the seemingly calm exterior of the plot, the music takes on the role of illustrating the storms raging within the various protagonists, shedding a microscopically fine light on their emotions. As is the case with many Japanese texts, The Hunting Gun involves a ritualistic aspect, which I uphold in my opera with a construction similar to that of a Passion. The sonorities of the solo instruments are spatially enhanced by seven choral singers.
Thomas Larcher