Systrarna is an evening with two one-act operas. Two poetic and gripping stories about people who’ve been hit hard by life's circumstances: Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Catharina Backman’s new opera On the Other Side of the Sea.
In the first opera, we meet Sister Angelica – the nun who was forced into a convent because she gave birth to an illegitimate child. In the second, the foster sisters Siri and Iris, who are separated due to poverty and hunger and never stop longing and looking for each other.
Both operas are performed by the same ensemble, with soloists and a female choir.
DITRECTION, STAGE DESIGN & LIGHTING
Direction and stage design by Staffan Valdemar Holm and Bente Lykke Møller. Known for their sparse and sincere style, they have staged a number of acclaimed and much-admired productions, including at The Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten) and the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, and at Malmö Opera most recently Aida and La Gioconda. In this production they have worked with their long-time collaborator, the prominent lighting designer Torben Lendorph.
Giacomo Puccini's Suor Angelica is a touching, beautiful opera that deals with loss, guilt and forgiveness. It is one of very few operas with only female roles. The opera takes place in a monastery in Siena in the 17th century, where the noble Angelica has been imprisoned after giving birth to an illegitimate child.
The work was composed in 1917 and when it was finished, Puccini had it staged in a convent where his sister Iginia was a nun. Both the music and the plot made a deep impression on the nuns, which Puccini saw as a confirmation that he had succeeded in creating the right monastic atmosphere. The opera received its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1918.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SEA
On the Other Side of the Sea is a completely new opera with music by Catharina Backman and libretto by Maria Sundqvist. The plot is based on a short story by Birgitta Trotzig and it is the first time ever that Trotzig’s work is dramatized. It is also the first time an opera by a female composer is performed on our main stage.
The Scanian author Birgitta Trotzig, who was a member of the Swedish Academy from 1993 until her death in 2011, wrote in a poetic and intense style. Her prose recalls genres such as folk tales, biblical legends and hymns. On the Other Side of the Sea is a cruel fairy tale with elements of realism.
The opera is set in Russia at the end of the 19th century. A poor couple has their first child and at the same time take in a foundling. The two girls grow up as sisters and are inseparable. When the father is forced into war, the mother gives her own daughter up for adoption to a wealthy family, in the hope that she will have a better life without poverty. The sisters are separated but never stop longing and looking for each other.