Kein Licht: Become a producer!
Creation of a European opera
Follow all the stages in the writing of a work to be first performed on the stage of Salle Favart in October 2017. This commission to Philippe Manoury for the music and Nicolas Stemann for the staging with a text by Nobel Prize Elfriede Jelinek is a good opportunity to involve the public differently by launching an open appeal for crowdfunding. With the artists’ consent, the donors, in return for their donations, will participate in the creative process from the very beginning. By participating in the project, they will take part in the usually secret preparation stages of the project, with the artists and the production team.
The creation will be entrusted to an outstanding team and coproducers who will give the scheme a European dimension: the Ruhrtriennale Festival, the Berliner Festspiele, the City of Luxembourg Theaters, the Zagreb National Theater, Strasbourg Musica, the IRCAM and the Ensemble Lucilin. And to the committed public that you are!
October, November, december : you have three months to join the adventure!
Crowdfunding Kein Licht
All the different elements of the project are ready to come together to make the production Kein Licht a shared adventure
The first step is to create a contemporary opera about a present-day topic. Then there is the coming together of three European artists for different parts of the projects: the Austrian Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek for the lyrics, Frenchman Philippe Manoury for the music, and Nicolas Stemann from Germany for the staging. None of the lyrics, music or staging have yet been finalized – there is simply the desire to work together. We are at the genesis of the creation process. The adventure will take place over two years, and it will take shape in France, with the help of our co-producers in Germany, Croatia and Luxembourg, before being launched on the stage of the Salle Favart in October 2017.
We are inviting you to become a real part of the project from the outset, to see its step by step creation from the inside and to sit with us in the producer’s chair and to be at the heart of each one of the production stages – from the first notes of the musical score to the research into production design; from workshops with actors, singers and the orchestra to the stage rehearsals; from the production prototypes for the set and costumes to the technical meetings and dress-rehearsals. You will be present at every important stage of the project including all kinds of meetings and information sessions. A thread will be woven between you, the artists and the theatre’s production teams.
How much does a commissioned opera cost?
Out of a total sum of €700,000, the Opéra Comique, as executive producer, bears responsibility for more than half of the budget.
How does one become a sponsor/producer?
Your contribution will finance 15% (€50,000) of the Opera Comique’s share of the budget. It will allow us to develop the highly innovative video and audio-acoustic devices which are central to a work of this scale.
Support the project and realize your potential as a producer
You will also enjoy a 66% tax deduction alongside a whole host of nonfinancial compensations.
You have three months to join the adventure, October, November and December!
The Association of Friends and Patrons of the Opéra Comique (AMOC) declares that it will back up Kein Licht by giving one euro to the project for each euro donated.
After the campaign, the AMOC will distribute the compensations to which it could claim through its donation to the beneficiaries of its social and educational actions.
You have three weeks left to participate!
In trying to introduce Philippe Manoury, one experiences the limitations of language: how can words describe this multi-faceted composer and his protean oeuvre?
His Website offers two different approaches over his biography: a formal CV consisting of a few lines and a text called Autobiographical Elements.
Much more telling, written with sensitivity and delicacy, these elements recount how music turned out to be "a life buoy" for a young boy whose "school life was a total disaster."
At age 14 he decides to leave public school and devote himself to studying music. While May 1968 is in full swing, he works on his piano on his own for eight or nine hours a day.
He soon realizes that his passion for composition prevails over performing. He then presents his first compositions to Gérard Condé who broadens his musical culture and introduces him to composer Max Deutsch – a former pupil of Arnold Schoenberg – whose classes he attends at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.
He simultaneously studies writing, harmony, counterpoint and musical analysis while becoming initiated into chess with such a passion that he considers forsaking notes for chessmen for a while.
He finally turns toward musical creation: at age 19 he composes Cryptophonos for pianist Claude Helffer, premiered at the Festival de Metz in 1972. He is nicknamed "the youngest French composer" by the press while he thinks he is "haunted by some kind of theoretic radicalism that is a little wild, lofty and solitary".
He studies at the Conservatoire de Paris with Michel Philippot, "an admirer of Diderot, Russell, Schoenberg and Kandinsky [who] was much more interested in the mechanisms of thought and composition than in aesthetic outcomes." He then meets Stockhausen and is fascinated by electronic music, foreseeing its many possibilities.
Computer music and probability theory become his study subjects. Boulez and Xenakis are his models.
He leaves the Conservatoire with first prizes in composition and analysis before going to Brazil where he settles down and teaches contemporary music in São Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
On his return to France in 1981 he joins IRCAM as a researcher and starts a longtime collaboration with the institute. Together with the American mathematician Miller Puckette, he composes Jupiter, the first interactive piece in which an acoustic instrument pilots real-time computer music.
Day and night Philippe Manoury experiments and composes while Miller Puckette devises a revolutionary computer program first utilized in Pluton and then in La partition du ciel et de l'enfer, Neptune et En echo.
As pioneer pieces, not only are Philippe Manoury's works large musical forms but are also technically highly demanding, which does not favor their performance and dissemination.
"I've never been very good at uniting my musical wishes with any financial satisfaction", he admits on his blog. Hence teaching is his other source of income. He's in charge of education with the Ensemble InterContemporain and teaches composition and electronic music at the Conservatoire National de Lyon while organizing seminars on composition worldwide. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego and teaches composition at the Académie supérieure de musique in Strasbourg.
The inevitable encounter with opera takes place in the 1990s when Manoury tries his hand at the genre with Citizen Kane – loosely based on Orson Welles's film – but no opera house is ready to receive him and he's obliged to give up the project. He presents his first opera, 60ème parallèle, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in 1997. It is followed by K… at Opéra Bastille, an opera in twelve scenes with real-time electronics that wins the Grand Prix SACD, the Prix de la critique musicale and the Prix Pierre I de Monaco. Philippe Manoury is in residence at the Scène nationale of Orléans and composes the chamber opera La Frontière and the piece On Iron. He is declared Composer of the Year 2012 for his opera La Nuit de Gutenberg premiered at the Festival Musica the previous year.
Among Manoury's next projects, Kein Licht, a contemporary opera commissioned by the Opéra Comique, is an opportunity to challenge operatic writing so as to create a new form. Thus, Beckett's quotation on the homepage of his Website, "With all that darkness around me, I feel less lonely", is quite revealing. There's no risk for the composer to feel lonely with Kein Licht, a definitely unifying project that combines crowdfunding and public involvement in the creation process.
• Discover his music
Listen to extracts from the archives of his works
Nicolas Stemann was born in Hamburg in 1968. He studied staging at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna and at the Institut für Theater, Musiktheater und Film in Hamburg. He defines himself as a stage director and a musician.
While being a student, he worked in piano bars as singer and guitarist. He often approached dramatic texts through a musical transformation.
He often works at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Burgtheater in Vienna where he premiered Das Werk and Babel by Elfriede Jelinek.
He staged the premiere of Jelinek's Ulrike Maria Stuart at the Thalia Theater and, in coproduction with the Salzburg Festival, Schiller's The Robbers. He works regularly on Berliner stages. During the 2009-2010 Season he directed two co-productions by the Thalia Theater Premiere and the Cologne Theater: Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns. Eine Wirtschaftkomödie by Jelinek and Nathan the Wise by Lessing, alternating both pieces between open rehearsals and performances. Along with Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns, he presented Eine Wirtschaftskomödie at the Berlin Theatertreffen, the Mühlheimer Theatertage and the Vienna Festival.
In 2011 he presented Faust I & II at the Salzburg Festival and the Thalia Theater. This production was invited at the 2012 Berlin Theatertreffen and the 2013 Festival d'Avignon.
He was awarded the 3sat prize at the 2012 Berlin Theatertreffen for his pioneer and innovative artistic work. In 2014-2015 he premiered Die Schutzbefohlenen by Elfriede Jelinek.
The Lucilin Ensemble
The United Instruments of Lucilin was founded in 1999 by a group of passionate Luxembourgish musicians. It's the first chamber music ensemble in Luxembourg dedicated to the promotion and creation of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The core of Lucilin (string quartet, piano and percussion) is sometimes complemented by flute, clarinet and saxophone according to the size of projects.
With 20 to 30 concerts per year, Lucilin performs in Luxembourg and around the world. It has established a reputation for acclaimed and unusual performances and for encouraging listeners to connect with the music and its context. Lucilin pursues the aim to touch its audience in an intellectual, spiritual and visual way.
More than an ensemble, Lucilin is a creation platform gathering interpreters, composers and musicians from different horizons (from the Second Vienna School to American minimalists, from the new generation to improvised and electronic music) and often welcomes other artistic forms.
The Lucilin Ensemble has closely collaborated with the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg in contemporary opera and musical theater for several years, producing together Toshio Hosokawa's monodrama The Raven with Charlotte Hellekant. They will soon produce the opera Wonderful Deluxe by Brice Pauset with Dominique Visse (to be premiered in 2016). Lucilin has commissioned and performed works by Luca Francesconi, Donnacha Dennehy, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Marcel Reuter, Michael Riessler, Yan Maresz, Martin Matalon, CS Mahnkopf and Toshio Hosokawa. Further compositions have been commissioned to Brice Pauset, Mauro Lanza and Arturo Fuentes.
Those who donate
They supported Kein Licht. We thank them here !
Pierre Odette Andriessens
Jean-Philippe et Françoise Billarant
Dany De Moura
Murielle Guillier Holstein
Fabrice Le Goeffic
Benoit Le Bihan
Bernard Le Masson
Christophe et Flora Lopvet
Mireille Mauron Laurent
Victoire de Margerie
Jacques Van Waebeke
Kein Licht & the Fedora Prize
Kein Licht has been awarded the Fedora Prize
The second edition of the FEDORA - Rolf Liebermann Prize for Opera held on 9 April 2016 at La Scala in Milan rewarded the Opéra Comique commission Kein Licht by composer Philippe Manoury and director Nicolas Stemann based on a text by Elfriede Jelinek.
The Fedora Prize for opera at €150,000 aims to support the creation of new opera and ballet co-productions by emerging artists through international collaborations between opera houses and festivals.
Kein Licht was awarded among 16 shortlisted projects for its innovating character. As a thinkspiel for actors, vocalists, musicians and electronic music in real time on a text by Elfriede Jelinek, Kein Licht is co-produced by the Opéra Comique, the Ruhrtriennale, the Theatres of the City of Luxembourg, the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Strasbourg Musica Festival and Opéra du Rhin, the Lucilin Ensemble, the Münchner Kammerspiele and IRCAM.
This prize reinforces the ambition of the Opéra Comique new director Olivier Mantei to foster creation and international co-productions in the future.
A trophy for creation
“The Opéra Comique is not like other institutions” said Olivier Mantei amid the throbbing of machines and the sound of hammers from the renovation work in the Salle Favart. In the foyer, the only place free of scaffolding, under the painting that depicts the birth of the Opéra Comique, the new director received the Fedora Rolf Liebermann Prize for Kein Licht whose premiere is scheduled in 2017.
In the presence of the president of the Opéra Comique Maryvonne de Saint Pulgent, the Ministry of Culture advisor Laurent Dréano, the director of Communication and Societal commitments at Generali Marie-Christine Lanne and the director of Fedora Edilia Gänz, the president of Fedora Jérôme-François Zieseniss emphasized the mission of his association of European philanthropists: “Far from flattering the giver’s ego or from pleasing the recipient, the Fedora Prize rather chooses to bet on the future, not on the past.” With a sum of €150,000, the association acknowledges the innovations and supports the international impact of this European production.
“Even though the Opéra Comique is small in size, it’s great for its history,” Maryvonne de Saint Pulgent reminded us. With more than 3000 productions over 300 years of history, the institution has managed to reinvent itself constantly. And Olivier Mantei certainly intends to continue on this path. As a commission to composer Philippe Manoury and director Nicolas Stemann, based on a text by Elfriede Jelinek, Kein Licht reflects innovation in many ways: the subject – the world after Fukushima – the writing method, associating the three artists from the outset, the technical modes of composition – part of the music will be created each evening in real time – the mode of production, which associates eight European co-producers and crowdfunding. A creation in which the authors decided to associate the donating public more than a year prior to the premiere, sharing their thoughts and allowing the donors to attend some of the working sessions. Kein Licht will tour Europe for some twenty performances, a rarity for a contemporary production.
To thank them, the Opéra Comique offered those in attendance a guided tour of the Salle Favart as we’ll never see it again. Wearing hard hats, patrons, partners and journalists walked along the corridors jammed with boards and metal framework, making out, in spite of the scaffolding, the lobby’s graceful statues of Carmen and Manon which will welcome the public anew on the reopening of our house.