Franck Ollu - photo: Jean-Jacques Ollu

Operas by Weir and Dallapiccola: traumas and futile hopes


  • Judith Weir Blond Eckbert
  • Luigi Dallapiccola Il prigioniero

The 2020-2021 Matinee season concludes with an unusual double bill. With intense colours and lyricism, Judith Weir and Luigi Dallapiccola paint penetrating stories.

Judith Weir's intense Blond Eckbert

Scottish composer Judith Weir (1954) focuses on vocal music in her oeuvre. Her opera Blond Eckbert premiered in 1994. Eckbert and Berthe live deep in the woods. They seem happy, until it turns out that their only friend Walther knows more about them than they care to. Suggestive, alienating sounds, not necessarily dissonant, paint the nature in which this uneasy fairy tale by the writer Ludwig Tieck is set. Although Blond Eckbert captivates with the Waldeinsamkeit of German Romanticism, the work actually paints the unspoken taboos and traumas that play a role in every human relationship. After a laconic opening, Weir deftly weaves an ever denser and more intense web of sounds and atmospheres, until a sudden apotheosis.

The 'modern classic' Il prigioniero

Il pr igioniero (1948) by Luigi Dallapiccola has become a classic of the modern opera repertoire. Hope is the leitmotiv in this one-act play. Or rather: the destruction of hope, because the prisoner in the story is not released - as he is supposed to be - but led to the stake. With the traumatic time of the still recent Second World War in mind, Dallapiccola wrote a harrowing story in which wry dissonances alternate with the glittering hope of Italian lyricism.

Saturday, 5 June 2021
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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Franck Ollu
Netherlands Radio Choir
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Gijs Leenaars (c) Hans van der Woerd
Gijs Leenaars
Choir conductor
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Scott Hendricks
Baritone, Eckbert (Blond Eckbert)
Matthew Newlin
Tenor, Walther, Hugo, Old woman (Blond Eckbert)
Helena Koonings
Soprano, A bird (Blond Eckbert)
Jasmin Etezadzadeh
Mezzo-soprano, Berthe (Blond Eckbert) / La madre (Il prigioniero)
Lester Lynch
Baritone, Il prigioniero
John Daszak
Tenor, Il carceriere, Il grande inquisitore (Il prigioniero)
Morschi Franz
Tenor, 1. sacerdote (Il prigioniero)
Sam Carl
Bass-baritone, 2. sacerdote (Il prigioniero)


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