Photo Bernd Uhlig

Opening Concert - Iannis Xenakis: Oresteia

Blood and revenge, war and peace, crime and punishment: a musical tragedy for our troubled present

Thursday, 15 September, at 20:00
Sold out

Free entrance but with ticket required

In Xenakis’s massive masterpiece, the ultimate Greek tragedy becomes a monumental explosion of sonic power.

Iannis Xenakis: Oresteia

The Oresteia of Iannis Xenakis was one of the Greek composer’s most ambitious attempts to evoke the primal sound world of ancient Greek drama. Featuring a huge force of a choir, children’s chorus and percussion-heavy ensemble, the Oresteia needs to be heard live to experience its full, devastating effect.

Soloists include Seth Carico, the vocalist reprising the role of Kassandra from a performance in Berlin; contemporary specialist bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood, and Norwegian percussion maestro Håkon Mørch Stene. Boya Bøckman has created a dynamic visual element with video and lighting projections.

Ultima’s 2022 opening concert offers a chance to hear this rarely performed cantata. Based on Aeschylus’s Oresteia trilogy from around 458 BC, the tragedy details the return of Agamemnon from the Trojan War, his betrayal and murder by wife Clytemnestra, and their son Orestes’s attempts to take revenge by killing his mother. Violence, betrayal, torment and despair are reflected in Xenakis’s massive, atonal music, clashing strangeness of the percussion, ritualistic chanting chorus and vocal solos that soar to dizzying extremes.

Oresteia is Xenakis at his most primal and inventive, with music that overwhelms you with an almost physical effect.

Iannis Xenakis: Oresteia (1965–66, rev. 1969/ 87/89/92)
La déesse

Duration: ca. 60 minutes.

Tickets available from 25 August.

Seth Carico. Photo: Simon Pauly

Nicholas Isherwood. Photo: Joanna Bergin

Håkon Stene. Photo: Signe Fuglesteg Luksengaard

Det Norske Solistkor. Photo: Bård Gundersen

Oslo Sinfonietta and Christian Eggen. Photo: Anna Julia Granberg


Christian Eggen

Vocal soloists

Seth Carico (Kassandra) , Nicholas Isherwood (La Déesse)

Solo percussion

Håkon Stene

In collaboration with

Det Norske Solistkor, Oslo Sinfonietta, Solistkoret Ung, Den Norske Opera & Balletts barnekor

Video and lighting designer

Boya Bøckman

In collaboration with

Det Norske Solistkor, Oslo Sinfonietta, Den Norske Opera & Ballett

Supported by