The Mærsk Opera to be released on vinyl
Next week, The Mærsk Opera is released on vinyl – a work created in a cooperation between the artist group SUPERFLEX and composer Anders Monrad. The release will be celebrated at a release party at Charlottenborg on 13 December.
The Mærsk Opera is a documentary opera based on true events leading up to the opening of one of the most controversial buildings in Denmark’s recent history: the Opera House on Holmen, as well as being an artistic reflection on opera as a genre.
The work is an opera in three acts created by the artist group SUPERFLEX and the composer Anders Monrad, recorded by a dedicated team of Danish musicians and singers.
A national gift, a film and a vinyl
The Mærsk Opera began as a purely conceptual work in 2012. The score was handed over to the then minister of cultural affairs, Uffe Elbæk (as a representative of the Danish people) and representatives from The Royal Danish Theatre as a national gift. Subsequently, the score was exhibited as a work of art at Kunsthal Nikolaj. The Royal Danish Theatre politely said ‘no, thank you’ to staging the work and the project lay more or less dormant for a number of years – until finally an art film was produced that included the entire opera. The music was recorded – in the Opera House on Holmen in actual fact – after which the film had its premiere on CPH:DOX in 2017, where it was the opening film for the festival at Charlottenborg. Since then, the film has been shown a number of other locations, including DRK and the BFI festival in London.
Now the entire opera is being issued on a double vinyl! The cover design is created by SUPERFLEX and the liner notes have been written by Adrian Lloyd Hughes.
Meta-opera which queries itself and the entire opera genre in general
The composer Anders Monrad, who has written music to a libretto by SUPERFLEX and Nikolaj Heltoft, says about the composition that he has taken as his starting point the fact that Mærsk McKinney Møller, according to the biography Mærsk – manden og magten (Mærsk – the man and the power) – did not actually like opera. His musical preferences were more in the direction of Easy Listening and Country & Western, but despite this he chose to donate an opera house as a National Gift to the Danish People.
“This paradox was crucial to the musical style of the work, which is on the one hand characterised by large-scale, bombastic instrumentation with plenty of percussion – inspired by inter-war modernism, including the highly aggressive, percussive works by Bartok and Stravinsky – as an expression of modernism, industrialisation and huge machines, also naturally including a whole series of general characteristics from the history of opera (leitmotifs, references to Wagner’s ‘Tristan and Isolde’ etc.). On the other hand, considerable inspiration also comes from more ‘popular’ composers and styles, such as Henry Mancini and George Gershwin and, of course, the characteristic Pedal Steel Guitar (known from Country & Western music), which features in the orchestra as a kind of music leitmotif each time Mærsk himself appears in the action.”
Come to the reception of the release at Charlottenborg
The release of the new vinyl will be celebrated on 13 December at 16.00-18.00, in the Apollo Bar at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, where SUPERFLEX are topical at the moment as part of the exhibition BIG ART. Everybody is invited to come and listen to two new vinyl releases from SUPERFLEX, enjoy a glass of wine and buy the new album at a special price.