“Key to the Future”, Bartok Plus Opera Festival Miskolc, Hungary
Albin Fries, a young and promising Austrian composer, won the “Key to the Future” composition competition with the opera “Nora”, which will be performed at the Bartok Plus Opera Festival in Miskolc, Hungary, in June 2019.
The management of the 2018 Festival had launched the competition to bring back classical music to the glitz of the past, through the creative art and imagination of contemporary artists. The goal of the organizers was clear: to welcome all the authors who promoted a revival of the Opera. In the work of Albin Fries, the experts have grasped the proposed message and at the next edition of the Bartok Plus Opera Festival also the audience will have the opportunity to appreciate its contents.
The “Key to the future” contest saw the participation of nineteen works by 17 composers from Austria, Brazil, Great Britain, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, United States and Hungary.
The preliminary jury handled 6,440 pages of music score and 30 hours of music to decide which of the 19 questions would pass the rigorous selection to access the finals that took place on December 14, 2018 in the Solti Hall of the Budapest Academy of Music. Four finalist works: “Jana Eyrová” (“Jane Eyre”) by Juraj Filas, “Boszorkányvér” (“Witch-heritage”) by Péter Andorka, “The Stone Angel” by Valentin Dubovskoy, “Nora” by Albin Fries.
After a partial display of the works, the jury composed by composer Péter Eötvös, owner of the Kossuth Prize, by the composer Gyula Fekete, vice president of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, by the conductor Gergely Kesselyák, artistic director of Bartók Plus, by the composers Marco Taralli and Vasily Barkhatov, concluded that “Nora” by Albin Fries, was the winning work of the “Key to the Future” contest.
The story told in “Nora” is a hymn to love and takes place between 1890 and 1910; as the author has stated, the work is represented in a late-romantic musical style.
The full performance of “Nora” will be presented at the next Miskolc Opera Festival in 2019. This is the plot of Albin Fries’s work:
The poor Georgian student Arthur Sonnenfels (mezzo-soprano) in Vienna falls in love with Nora the day before he emigrated to Brazil. They spend the night together. Arthur leaves and further attempts to contact Nora and marriage plans fail due to the resistance of Nora’s parents, who destroy Arthur’s letters. When Arthur returns to Vienna, 20 years later, he is a famous composer and also has a heart disease. His greatest goal is to express love through music, but he cannot. When Arthur meets a young woman, Desiree, in a park in Vienna, he believes he “sees” Nora – the great love of his youth – and suffers a heart attack. Desiree takes him home and Arthur recognizes her daughter in her, of whom he knew nothing of existence. Nora had died a short time ago. Suddenly Arthur rediscovers the essence of absolute and pure love. When he finds the right inspiration in putting this love into music, Arthur suffers another heart attack and dies. The opera ends with the love of music that Arthur had managed to compose, almost like a work in progress.
What is the message of the work?
The Author Albin Fries explains it this way: “The protagonist can understand pure love by loving his child”.
Rocco Turi, from Miskolc