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Partial premiere of Stockhausen’s “LICHT”.

LICHT, die sieben Tage der Woche [LIGHT, the seven days of the week] is probably the most ambitious operatic project of the 20th century, ahead of the CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down, the (unfinished) twenty-four-hour project created by stage director Bob Wilson, with the planned musical participation of six composers from as many countries.

LICHT, composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen between 1977 and 2003, is an operatic cycle made up of seven different operas (each named after the days of the week), in the manner of The Ring of the Nibelung, the cycle of four operas created by Wagner between 1848 and 1874, but twice the length, since Stockhausen’s work, if performed in a row, would have a duration of 29 hours. In fact, it has never been performed in this way. Stockhausen himself regarded each of the seven operas in the cycle as a complete work in its own right, to some extent independent. And so it is, separately, on each of the seven days of the week that they have been performed. Sometimes each of the “days” has even been shown in fragments, as happened recently at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, with a single performance of two of the three acts of Donnerstag (Thursday), the second opera in the cycle, with musical direction by Maxime Pascal.

Only one part was performed in Spain, on 16 September 1992, at the Teatro de La Maestranza, as part of the events of the Seville Universal Exhibition and as part of the fourth Encuentros de Nueva Música de Sevilla. It was a first version of Freitag (Friday), adapted to the technical availability of the venue, which prevented Stockhausen from placing all the loudspeakers where he needed them.

After almost thirty years, this coming Tuesday, 14 December, another brief “summary” of LICHT will take place at the Espacio Ronda, as part of the Madrid Actual festival organised by Neopercusión, in a chamber version lasting about two hours, with fragments from each of the seven days of the week.

In this presentation, in which all the members of Neopercusión take part, with Juanjo Guillem acting as artistic director, there will also be the participation of the soprano Idoris Duarte, the flautist Marta Gómez, the clarinettist Lía Santalla, the saxophonist Beatriz Tirado and the keyboardist Elisa Vázquez Doval.