On This Planet
North American premiere: May 18, 19, 2007 8:00PM MacPherson Playhouse Theatre
Thomas Sandberg, The Male / Heather Pawsey, Mother Earth /Aventa Ensemble, Bill Linwood, conductor / Gwen Dobie, Stage Director / Michael Meloche, Stage Design / William Mackwood, Lighting designer
premiere: June 11, 2009 New York City (Scandinavia House) with Mark McGregor, solo flute
Turmalin was commissioned with the assistance of the Danish Arts Foundation
Anders Nordentoft’s breakthrough came with his orchestral work Entgegen in 1985 – an energetic, direct piece with rhythmic appeal. Nordentoft has no desire to fix on pre-determined forms and figures – he rather allows himself to be carried forward by the direct intuition that dictates the musical motion. One senses that for Nordentoft, the moment of creativity is a physical state rather than the drawing-up of a musical account book that has to be balanced. His music is not written with a stopwatch and ruler – rather it is a process that is toilsome – the notes being worked out of chaotic material. Nordentoft’s creative process is best described as a whirling chaos at the beginning, which through confusion, hard work and error moves gradually, in fits and starts, towards a resolution and clear structure.
Turmalin, a virtuoso work for flute in nine movements, was written in 2008 for Aventa’s solo flutist, Mark McGregor. Turmalin was commissioned by the Aventa Ensemble with assistance from the Danish Arts Foundation.
Danish composer Anders Norderntoft’s opera, On This Planet, is a journey through life from birth to death. Anders’ experience as a rock musician combined with his classical training, creates a brand new musical universe where the concept of crossover is no longer adequate as a label. In On This Planet, we enter a world where anything can happen and nothing is what is seems. Danish performance artist, Thomas Sandberg, joined Aventa Ensemble in the North American premiere of this opera.
“On This Planet is a great musical, dramatical and theatrical experience. Friday’s premiere was a magnificant achievement…like life itself.
On This Planet, is all-encompassing, simultaneously all too brief yet seemingly eternal.
Thomas Sandberg…was mesmerizing…no doubt one day somebody else will take on this role, but at the moment it is hard to imagine”. – Deryk Barker (Music in Victoria)
The spectacularly strange performance was topped by an impressive and elaborate set, which included giant moving brick walls, gears, a sand-covered stage and a large mask-like head with a man’s face projected on it. David Lynch would have drooled… for those who love opera, musical theatre, a live rock concert and anything out of the ordinary, On This Planet is a rare experience that is not to be missed.” – Sarah Petrescu (Times Colonist)
“Nordentoft has created his own language from pre-existing vocabularies. His orchestra is capable of making very loud and violent sounds, but also of great beauty…in an orchestra pit bristling with microphones and electronics, Bill Linwood directed a performance on tremendous energy and subtlety”. – Deryk Barker (Music in Victoria)