Hans Werner Henze, L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe, Matthias Goerne, Laura Aikin, Salzburg Festival, 2003 (released on DVD in March 2005)
Summer Opera: Henze's L'Upupa (July 22, 2005)
From Goerne to His Distant Beloved (July 18, 2005)
Matthias Goerne in Schumann Songs (February 20, 2005)
Philip Glass World Premiere and Matthias Goerne (January 21, 2005)
The score is intricate and gorgeous, calling for a large ensemble heavy on winds and tinkling sounds, including two harps, two pianos, celesta, five percussionists on bells and Chinese instruments. The orchestration is mostly quite delicate, however, focusing more on transparent color than on thickness of sound. Henze also uses taped sounds of beating wings and bird calls, which evoke the mythological bird much better than the mechanized one in a cage used in this production.
Henze may be out of the opera business, but he continues to compose, having recently premiered a new work for orchestra, Cinq messages pour la Reine de Saba, commissioned by Radio France. That piece recycles some unused fragments for L'Upupa. Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will premiere another new orchestral work, Sebastian im Traum (based on the poem of the same name by Georg Trakl), this December.