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Karl-Birger Blomdahl - Aniara (Opera excerpts)

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Published on May 16, 2011

Aniara is an opera in two acts by Karl-Birger Blomdahl, with a libretto by Erik Lindegren based on the poem Aniara by Harry Martinson, that was premiered in 1959. The opera was described by the composer as a "review about Man in Time and Space".

The score of Aniara is varied and makes full use of a range of musical idioms, including jazz, serial writing and an electronic tape. The narrative is sung primarily by Mimaroben, a bass-baritone, who operates the electronic tape, Mima, the computer, and by the chorus. In essence the opera (and poem) deal with the relationship between the individual and the group through time.

Many representatives of the international press were in Stockholm for the premiere in 1959 at a time when the space age was beginning. Blomdahl said in interview that the opera (in common with his next opera Herr von Hancken) was founded on "modern man's complexity and his basically impossible situation"; Aniara dealt with "the downfall of the group". A production was mounted in Gothenburg in 1994.

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