The chamber opera The Hermaphrodie is a dramatic journey in self-knowledge, an allegory on the awakening sexuality in man, a profound insight – gnosis – in the dualistic nature og man in a synthesis of the masculine and feminine.
Anima and animus
The opera follows the hermaphrodites dramatic journey in self-knowledge. The hermaphrodite carries in himself a synthesis of the masculine and the feminine. In the ritual ouverture “The Secret Gospel”, the story of Lazarus´ resurrection is interpreted as an allegory on the awakening sexuality in the main character. The inner sexual being – the female side, or anima – is awakened, which leads to the reconization of new and unknown aspects of ones personality.
One of Norway´s most prominent composers
Olav Anton Thommessen is a productive composer with a large number of works laid behind him. As a composer, pedagogue and social debater, he has been a considerable contributor in the spreading of information on newer forms of music, as well contributing to the understanding of earlier forms of music. As a pedagogue his creative curiosity and ability to see new sides of the musical process have has a major influence. Thommessens role as a debater is considerable when it comes the role of music and art in Norwegian culture and society. He has amongst other prizes received Lindemanprisen (1989) and Nordisk råds musikkpris (1990), been festival composer and the Bergen International Festival (1985) and The Arts Festival of North Norway (1995). Olav Anton Thommessen is Professor Emeritus in compostion at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
Oslo Sinfonietta & Christian Eggen
Oslo Sinfonietta is conducted by its chief conductor and artistic leader Christian Eggen on this album. Eggen holds an important position in the musical life in Norway as well as Europe, and has made himself noted both as a pianist, composer and conductor, and received multiple awards for his artistic work. Amongst the composers he has worked closely with one can mention John Cage, Witold Lutoslawski, Iannis Xenakis, György Kurtag, Kaija Saariaho and Helmut Lachenmann. Oslo Sinfonietta consists of leading freelance musicians and members of some of Norway´s most prominent orchestras. Among Oslo Sinfonietta´s many recording are «Birds and Bells» with music by Bent Sørensen, Eivind Buene´s «Object of Desire» and Cecilie Ore´s «Codex temporis». The ensemble won the Spellemannpris for «Boyl» with music by Rolf Wallin in 1999. Oslo Sinfonietta performs regularly at Norwegian and international festivals, with Case de Música i Porto, Présence Festival in Paris and the Venezia Biennale as some of the highlights. In 2015 Oslo Sinfonietta received an exclusive visit by Helmut Lachenmann in conjunction with his 80th birthday, and for these concerts in Oslo and at the Bergen International Festival the ensemble won the critics award for 2015. With them on the recording of The Hermaphrodite is a dream team of soloists: Eir Inderhaug (recitation, soprano), Isa Katharina Gericke (soprano), Anna Elisabeth Einarsson (mezzo-soprano), Nils Harald Sødal (recitation, tenor), Espen Fegran (baritone) and Ketil Hugaas (bass).