David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize winning Little Match Girl Passionis Australia bound, but is it opera?

Whilst the world is still reeling from Wagner’s bicentenary – or basking in its extended glory as may be the case – the world still awaits the first full seven day production of Stockhausen’s Licht cycle. Seven years after Stockhausen’s death, all parts of this super cycle have been performed seperately. But given the enormous technical and human resources needed, we shall have to be patient for a little longer before we see anyone take on such a gargantuan project.

The Ringcycle and the Lichtcycle arguably represent the two most universal artistic statements of the last two hundred years. Both composers were German and set out to fuse all artforms into a massive epic of gods and mortals. For Wagner this was opera on a grand scale, the central artform of the 19th century. For Stockhausen it is a cosmic ritual for the 21st century, something akin to circus or ceremony, in between performance and meta-performance, between farce and fearless musical adventure.  Opera would be too narrow and historical a term for it, no matter how open and generic the word actually...

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