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)
Duration: ca. 60 minutes.