With, at this stage, only one performance given of the new production of DONNERSTAG aus LICHT from Le Balcon in Paris, and two more still to come, I think it would be wrong for me to say too much here about the details, because many will want to be surprised. So, just to start this thread, I just wanted to say a few very brief overall but, for me, important things from my experiences so far. I was fortunate to be able to attend both the General Rehearsal and the opening night, and will also be going to the remaining two performances.
For me, it was an overwhelmingly powerful performance that seemed to capture both the intense and private humanity out of which the story grows as well as the huge universal and cosmic wonder into which it ascends - it was passionate and vibrant and some extraordinary work from the musicians. But for me, its strongest feature was the feeling it gave to me of the connection between the seemingly small world of day to day life, with its mixture of hardship and fun, and the huge and limitless world of the stars, the cosmos, the light, and the spirit that connects and infuses them all. There were many points where I felt those connections were made in the most magical way, as Stockhausen himself makes them in one of my favourite little images that he composed into the opera - Michael the little boy who is already called 'Little Thor'as he plays with his toy hammmer, and then who is greeted in HEIMKEHR with such stupendous majesty by Eve and the choir as 'Thor, Donar'. The little boy who was the cosmic creator, and the cosmic creator who always is,in part, the little boy: like the way his formula ends an octave lower than it began, telling us, as i remember reading in Thomas Ulrich's book, that the divine Michael and the human Michael are the same. For me, in this production, that element was so beautifully driven home. In this production, Michael's undying affection for humanity is so palpable, so tender and, in the end, it radiates out to all of us just as Stockhausen wanted it to.
But to say more would already be to break the promise that I made, at the beginning of this post, not to spoil anything. I know there will be details, both in the production and in the musical realisation, that some will not be entirely happy with. Some of these details will be very small, some more significant. There was a significant problem with the GRUSS, for example, for which a late compromise had to be found. I noticed some other problems, too - or at least aspects of the performance that I thought should have been a little different - and others have already mentioned things that I missed, but now I see their point. These had nothing to do with the skills of the performers - just different ideas and approaches that I think perhaps were not the right way to do some things. I always wish that anyone who takes on any of Stockhausen's music takes some time to go to Kürten and work there with Kathinka and Suzee because there are so many important details that can be otherwise easily overlooked.
But I do hope that if you can get to this production, either in Paris, or when it tours elsewhere, that you do. I really found it to be very strong, and there are moments that even now, just in thinking about them, make the hairs on my arms stand on end, or bring tears of tenderness to my eyes. And some performances that were, I thought, absolutely brilliant.
I look forward very much to hearing the thoughts of others.
I feel that it could be useful to have a discussion-forum on the music of Stockhausen. There are so many people from all over the world, young and old, learned and eager to get into contact with this musical world: musicologists, composers, musicians, music lovers; people who plan concerts - who write books or have to give lectures and so on. So there should be much stuff, many ideas that we can share. And when we have open questions, there may be people who studied just that and could give a hint or a stimulus.
A problem might be the English language, but i feel that is the only possibility that many people who are interested can participate. And we can exercise tolerance to mistakes!