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Festival Preview - Pigtales in Aspen
Aspen, CO. This summer pigs may not fly, but they will rule the day when the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Aspen Opera Theater Center produces the first American performances of HK Gruber’s delightful and witty chamber opera Gloria: A Pigtale, a two-act musical theater work. Performances are July 27 and 29 at 7 pm in the Wheeler Opera House.

Based on Gloria von Jaxtberg, a best selling children’s tale by Rudolf Herfurtner, with a libretto by Mr. Herfurtner, Gloria: A Pigtale tells the story of a lovely piglet with extravagant golden curls who is scorned by the other inhabitants of the local pig pen for her unique looks. Gloria is the prettiest pig in the pen, but unfortunately doesn’t understand the fatal significance of the word “sausages!” Thrust from the sty, she embarks on a search for true love as all classic heroines of opera are meant to do.

Written in 1993, Gloria: A Pigtale received its world premiere performances in November of 1994 at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Aspen’s performances will be conducted by Diego Masson in his second appearance at the Festival. He last conducted the AOTC’s production of John Casken’s Golem in 2000. Born in France, Mr. Masson conducts regularly in Britain, Europe, and Scandinavia, as well as Asia and Australasia. He returns to Australia in 2003 to conduct Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder at the Perth International Arts Festival.

Born in Vienna in 1943, HK Gruber is a composer whose creative output defies simple catagorizing. He has written in many compositional styles including 12-tone, romantic, neo-tonal and neo-expressionist all in his own unique musical voice. His catalogue includes works for orchestra and voice, as well as concertos for violin, double bass, cello, and percussion. His most often performed work is Frankenstein!! a song cycle for “chansonnier” and orchestra written in 1976. In addition to his compositional work, Mr. Gruber himself is also a vocal performer or “chansonnier.” In the midst of a surge of interest in his work, Mr. Gruber was the subject of a recent New York Times article that described his singing voice as “inimitable” with its “squawking, swooning and a bit of hooting.”

While in Aspen for the performances of Gloria: A Pigtale, Mr. Gruber will present an evening of chamber music on July 20. His program includes songs by Schoenberg and Eisler, and a presentation of Schoenberg’s 1912 classic song cycle for speaker and chamber ensemble, Pierrot lunaire.

Sat May 25 2002 (10:23:52 AM)