What does an opera of the 21st century sound like, look like and how do we experience it? The Opera Atelier is a joint project by Bregenz Festival and the Kunsthaus Bregenz that creates a space for artists and their ideas, explorations and thoughts paving the way for an opera to premiere at the Werkstattbühne. The audience is invited to follow this process over several years. Following the premiere of To the Lighthouse in 2017 and Wind in 2021, now it is time for an explorer and a returnee to set out on a new adventure: Belgian-Irish composer Éna Brennan and British stage and artistic director David Pountney.
Éna Brennan is a violinist, composer and graphic designer and, thus, wanders through different worlds. Following an international education in Brussels, she moved to Ireland where she studied composing, music and drama. At her concerts, she wins over the audience as a soloist, just her and her violin and electronic sounds, or together with her ensemble Dowry Strings. Multiple vocal and instrumental ensembles team up with her to bring their compositions and arrangements to the stages of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Union Chapel London and the Wexford Opera House, among others. In 2020, her short opera Rupture, which was part of the program 20 Shots of Opera at the Irish National Opera, attracted great international attention.
Together, Éna Brennan and David Pountney work on an outstanding acoustic and visual music theatre for the Werkstattbühne. David Pountney knows the stage and the possibilities it offers. After all, he realized a number of projects and premieres for this theatre venue when he was the artistic director of Bregenz Festival from 2004 to 2014.
Many know the British director because of his spectacular productions on the Seebühne such as Der fliegende Holländer, Nabucco, Fidelio, The Magic Flute and the opera The Passenger, which was celebrated all around the world. Poutney also built up a reputation as a translator and librettist. He wrote a number of opera texts for Peter Maxwell Davies. He will contribute to the work of the Opera Atelier with years of experience.
From the beginning of 2022 onwards, interested people can follow the process of a new opera coming into existence during several shows and, additionally, get to know Éna Brennan’s music.