Monday, February 7, 2011

Inanna Letter

When going through some of my old email correspondence, I found the email sent to a friend in London, just after the world premiere of "Inanna" in Amsterdam. It is a nice reminder to this piece:

Subject: Short Inanna report
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 01:36:19 +0100

One hour ago I came back from "Inanna" world premiere. (At the moment I am living in Rotterdam at friend's house and I still don't know where I am going to settle permanently for three months...)

> >INANNA: small scale, but quite strong work, in my opinion. Site specific - as it is often the case with ZT Hollandia - it was performed in the old gas factory "Westergasfabriek". It has three acts, without intermission, lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
> >Libretist is Hal Hartley - earlier I saw the film ("New Maths" that he did with Andriessen), and I was delighted with the unusual relation between visuals and music, avoiding stereotypes. Inanna is sung/spoken in Dutch, English and Sumerian. Ensemble-six players: electric violin, db clarinet, quartet of saxophones
> >Andriessen’s Music: repetitive, harsh, with many replicas on his own mature musical language - "Rosa" like saxophone hoqueting passages, "De Stijl" like boogie-woogie "field", "De Staat" like entrance of the voice parts...
> >Music is not continuous, there are also spoken parts. The most interesting issue that music raises is how we today hear/imagine the music of Sumerian time and culture -It could be that Andriessen's music is the 'false simulacrum' of Sumerian music
> >Roles: Inanna, the goddess of fertility and heaven, Ereshkigal, Inanna's sister, the goddess of the underworld, Enki, their father, the god of waters, Dumuzzi, Inanna's husband, Gesthinanna, Dumuzzi's sister + 2 eunuchs + 3 Yes-men (do you know who is the Yes-man?) >All the voices are without vibrato
> >Time: undefined, it could be both now and "then", it is mythology
> > Except in chorus they never sing simultaneously.
> >Plot: very simple, even deliberately banal - Inanna wants to go to the underworld, and "they" don't let her. Finally, she manages. I think that libretto is constructed to ironically problematize the world of great opera mythologies.
> >Inanna could be interpreted in parallel with Glass’ "Akhnaten" - think that would be extremely interesting.
> >Direction: Pol Koek. Quite informal, but with few interesting interventions - Enky is in the aquarium-like space filled with the water, stone rain is falling on the stage like the symbol for Enky's anger... chamber atmosphere...
> >Start: this music theatre piece starts with 'lecture' in Dutch, which is held by the "museum girl", about Sumerian culture

> >Now I feel that I am really tired. >I will check about other performances of “Inanna” and will let you know. I hope that those fragments gave you the idea about it. I was impressed, so I thought that I should write you immediately. Until soon, J>

Electric violin custom-made by maker Dave Bruce Johnson of Violectra was built in 2003 to match exact proportions as Monica Germino's acoustic violin and had its first performances in "Inanna".