It’s a chance encounter. Two people pass on a stairway, their hands touching as he retrieves her dropped jar of honey. Not much in itself, but it proves a potent trigger for Chaya Czernowin’s new opera, Heart Chamber: An Inquiry About Love . Premiered to considerable acclaim in 2019 at Deutsche Oper Berlin, it’s the Israeli composer’s fourth major stage work and cements her reputation as one of the most intriguing music theatre voices of recent years.

Chaya Czernowin

Czernowin describes her process as “working with metaphor as a means of reaching a sound world which is unfamiliar; the use of noise and physical parameters as weight, textural surface (as in smoothness or roughness etc), problematization of time and unfolding and shifting of scale in order to create a vital, visceral and direct sonic experience, all this with the aim of reaching a music of the subconscious which goes beyond style conventions or rationality.” Phew…

As director Claus Guth explains on the insightful documentary film that accompanies the DVD, that means she deals almost exclusively in abstracts, imagining everything as happening in...