Opera in three acts (60´+ 40´+ 50´) about the only saint in Swedish history - Saint Brigid (1303-1373)
Commissioned by The International Vadstena Academy for the celebration of the saint´s 700th anniversary.
Directed by Karl Dunér.
Choreography by Åsa Unander-Scharin
Conducted by Cecilia Rydinger
Set design: Peder Freiij and Karl Dunér
• Byrgitta is represented on the Anniversary CD from Vadstena-Akademien, that can be ordered here:
•Byrgitta was invited to a presentation at the International Musicdrama workshop arranged by ITI, in Munch dec ´04.
• Swedish Association of Music Publishers nominated Byrgitta in the cathegory "most important serious work last year" (040916)
•Byrgitta is also available in a one hour long oratorio version.
Music by Carl Unander-Scharin (2001-2003)
Libretto by Magnus Carlbring
First performance July 27, 2003 at the castle in Vadstena.
Byrgitta was performed 12 times, and broadcast live by the Swedish Radio.
Conductor: Cecilia Rydinger-Alin
Cast: 12 singers
Birgitta (S): Elisabeth Strid, Spegeln (S) Jennie Eriksson, Blanca/Hovdam (Mz): Katarina Böhm, Märta (Mz): Karin Boqvist, Blanca (Mz) Tove Nilsson, Jordemor/Kardinal (A): Maria Sanner
Kung Magnus (T) Olof Lilja, Karl (T): Karl Rombo, Petrus Olavi (T): Daniel Buckard, Ulv (Bar): Lars Brissman, Alfons av Jaén (Bar) Samuel Jarrick, Clemens VI (Bass): Sami Yousri, Matthias (Bar/Bass): Joakim Schuster.
Orchestra: 12 musicians
Viola: Karin Ancker, BassTrombone: Jesper Atterling, Viola da Gamba: Keren Bruce, Guitarr/Electric Guitar: Kenneth Burman, Recorders: Kerstin Frödin, Violin: Rebecka Karlsson, Violin/Leader: Maria Lindal-Klingfors, Percussion: Erik Lång, Double Bass: Erik Ottosson, Trumpet: Andreas Jönsson, Clarinet/BassClarinet: Jonas Viklund, Cembali/Organ/Synthesizer: Urban Westerlund.
Rehearsal pianists: Max Lörstad, Eric Skarby.
Interview the week before the first performance:
Carl Unander-Scharin (composer)
"Byrgitta" opens with a ritual. A flagellant procession singing Stabat Mater Dolorosa in a rhythmic theme meets a Marian procession singing a Marian fauxbourdon. After the initial meeting, which takes place on a physical, tonal and philosophical level, the opera begins. The orchestra consists of instruments from different epochs, but there are also concrete sound sources, especially in the second act where the music is characterized by a kind of "concrete musique concrète". By this I mean the use of real-life "sounds" like twigs breaking or splashing water.
Cecilia Rydinger Alin (conductor)
To a some extent the music is archaic and reminiscent of old religious introits and Gregorian chants, transporting us back in time several hundred years. At the same time the rhythmic complexity and expanding vocal parts make it truly inventive and very much contemporary. The music captures harshness and serene beauty.
Karl Dunér (director)
Birgitta of Närke was known for her effectiveness, intrepidness and wrath. The opera depicts the human fate of this remarkable mother of eight – from her life at the Swedish royal court to her voluntary exile in Rome. For more than 50 years she tried to influence her contemporaries in different directions, but with little success. She recommended a crusade in the east, wanted to stop a war in the west, urged the Pope to move back to Rome and tried to persuade the Swedish king to reconquer lost lands. She wanted to stop the decay of the Catholic Church and to form a monastery. On her death she left a great quantity of texts which came to form the basis of the process that led to her canonisation in 1391.