Last month, German composer Isabel Mundry (b. 1963) premiered a new opera, Ein Atemzug — Die Odyssee, in a production at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, performed on September 7 to 11. I found only a couple articles in the German news, beginning with a preview article by Volker Tarnow (Odysseus in der Warteschleife, September 7) in the Berliner Morgenpost (my translation):
The idea dates from 1998, and the composer has had the contract in the bag since 2001. But the wanderings of the Deutsche Oper mean that this premiere was delayed by more than just one year. Odysseus is fearsome. Not only to his wife Penelope's 110 suitors, whom he murders when he gets back to Ithaca, but Odysseus just frightens people. Unlike writers and painters, few composers have ever been interested in Homer's epic. Well, with any success. The story is probably cursed. Still, Isabel Mundry had to learn this for herself.Udo
"Naturally, I was afraid of Homer," Isabel Mundry confesses. "This is not modesty, and I don't want to make the idea of composition a mystery. I work hard, with a pocket calculator, making sketches. I do research. I don't want to manipulate the lister: I just want to create sincere music." Therefore, there are no mystical chords, no allusions to ancient Greek music or instruments.Klaus Geitel reviewed the opera (Tief durchatmen, September 9) for the Berliner Morgenpost. He reported that the audience gave a unanimous standing ovation to the cast and composer at opening night, although he also admits that it is a difficult work, although it is brief at 90 minutes in length. I also found an interview with the composer, by Georg Friedrich Kühn ("Odyssee - ein Atemzug", September 8) for German radio (Deutschlandfunk).