Aarhus Sommeropera


World premiere of a new opera by John Frandsen and Ivar Gjørup

Principals: Jørn Pedersen; Helene Gjerris; Liv Oddveig Midtmageli; Trine Bastrup Møller; Jens Krogsgaard; Ida Stegmark; Morten Grove Frandsen
Mime: David Polmer
Director: Jan Maagaard
Designer: Ivar Gjørup
Conductor: David Riddell
The Danish Sinfonietta - Randers Kammerorkester

A few years ago, artist Ivar Gjørup buried his divine anti-hero Divus Madsen following more than 25 years as the main character in the cartoon series "Egoland". The series' universe was mythical and mystical - populated by unusual beings with an unusual approach to the great questions of existence: Live & death, belief & the unbelievable, love & lollipops... Divus was interred by the (comic)book. However, it is not an unknown phenomena in this particular branch, that divities are resurrected, and in 2013 Aarhus Sommeropera was truly witness to a SECOND COMING, as Divus Madsen rose from the grave to a new life - as an opera character. Here, together with his wife Sandra, and daughter, he sought happiness, joy, and goodness - in short: The Meaning of Life. Halleluja! or perhaps: 1/2leluja?

The musical landscape for Egoland was drawn by composer John Frandsen, who was responsible for Aarhus Sommeropera's wildly ambitious opera trilogy "Vice and Virtue in the Middletime", and creator of Egoland, Ivar Gjørup himself, provided the libretto and wass also responsible for the visual realisation of the opera. Frandsen and Gjørup have previously collaborated on the church opera "Undermålerne" and on the symphonic tale "Skyggen" (based on H. C. Andersen).

Critics were for once totally in agreement in their praise of the production:

"In the orchestra pit Randers Chamber Orchestra together with its chief David Riddell played with inspiring energy. The orchestra is currently performing at a very high level. The cast is also undeniably good. The Sommeropera has throught the years helped many young singers on their way, and can now reap the benefits of their efforts. Divus Madsen crawls out of a hole in the graveyard. Jørn Pedersen's performance is truely a resurrection-buffo-triumph. It is impressive how well he continually maintains life in the figure throughtout the opera. His wife Sandra is understandably confused, but luckily has brought some coffee. As Divus declares: "Live is better than the alternative. With a good cup of coffee..." Liv Oddveig suppies the accompaniment to the coffee with her creamy voice! Her voice is exciting and should be heard more often. Vulva, with her golden wings, arrives a little late to instigate the ressurection. The powers of heaven thereafter insert Vulva as a tv-reporter of great news. She is sung by none less than the captivating artist Helene Gjerris. With "Aftensjovet" and the dating game "Sæd & Skik" we move into revy-opera. Trine Bastrup Møller sings the role of Psykopøjten beautifully. The young Morten Grove Frandsen, currently studying at the Opera Academy, surprised us with his vocal expertise and his mastery of the " trapese" tessitura. His Super-Egon is a fertile battle with Jens Krogsgaard's fine steady heldentenor as Overlægen. After the interval things become more serious in comparison to the more traditional buffo "comedy-culmination" finish. Gaia and Bingo are expecting a baby. Gaia is sung by Ida MacGregor, a young soprano worth watching, and Bingo is performed by David Polmer, a student at Aarhus Theatre, who presents fantastisc physicality, moving in and out, and interacting with the singers, such that one doesn't realise that Bingo is actually a non-speaking/singing part. The production is full of talent." (John Christiansen - Klassiske.dk)

"The opera, based on "Egoland", is entertaining, incredibly beautiful and very often funnier than the comic strip" (Søren Schauser, Berlingske) *****

"Gjørup and Franden's opera is a gift to the fans, but also more sporadic readers and even the uninitiated can, to great benefit, drop by!" (Ole Straarup, Århus Stiftstidende) *****

"But the most interesting thing to note, is that a mini-company such as Aarhus Sommeropera yet again ran away with all the attention due to their very successful premiere of 'Egoland the Opera'." (Thomas Michelsen, Politiken) ****

The production was funded by:A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine McKinney Møllers Fond; Knud Højgaards Fond; Aarhus Stiftstidendes Fond; Aage & Ulla Filtenborgs Fond af 8. november; KODA-Dramatiks Dispositionsfond; Jyllands-Postens Fond; C.A.C. Fonden; Dansk Kompoist Forenings Produktionspulje og KODAs Nationale Midler