The May 10, 2009 performance at Carnegie Hall marked the work’s World Premiere.
Songs at the Well is a cycle of five pieces scored for two sopranos and
ensemble. I used a compilation of Russian traditional love songs, laments, and
khorovod texts to create my own narrative. The texts are unified by one theme:
women in marriage. I tried to create some theatrical drama in each song by
giving the two sopranos different characters.
The first song says that people find love only when the right time comes. The
second is a lament of a newly wedded girl who ended up living with her husband’s
unwelcoming family. The third is a frivolous song of a girl who tells how she
made her wandering lover return to her. The fourth is an argument between the
cheated wife and the “other woman.” The cycle concludes with a khorovod song,
insisting that the young girls should go out, play, and wait a while before
subjugating themselves in marriage.
Clearly, folk music has influenced the content, form, harmony, rhythm,
timbre, and melody in this work. However, I do not use any one particular folk
music or genre as a model. I try to create some kind of synthetic, imaginary
folk music—a blend of some traditional elements, contemporary technique, and my
own musical personality.
Moscow-born and London-based composer Elena Langer has written operas,
orchestral works, chamber pieces, and choral compositions. In 2009, her opera
The Present was performed at OpernHaus Zürich, where it received the
Audience Prize. Elena’s multimedia work Give Me Your Blessing—for the
Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble, opera singer, and ballet dancers—was performed at the
Royal Opera House, and her mini-opera Ariadne at the Tanglewood Music
Center. For The Opera Group, Elena is currently working on The Lion’s
Face, a full-length opera that will be premiered in May 2010 at the
Brighton Festival and tour around the UK, with the last four performances at the
Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House.
Bio current as of February 2010
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