Vivaldi - The Fifth Season, BaRock opera by C. Kolonovits
Vivaldi - The Fifth Season? Surely there’s been some mistake. Because everyone knows that there are only four and Antonio Vivaldi, the very first composer to write, for want of a better term, programme music, must have stuck to the meteorological certainty of spring, summer, autumn and winter?
Yes, it’s true that many of Vivaldi’s works were only found in the last century, tucked away in a Salesian boarding school in Piedmont before being placed in the vaults of the National Library in Turin. Could a Fifth Season be among them?
Now you can breath a sigh of relief or possibly gasp in expectation, depending upon your point of view. Vivaldi - Die fünfte Jahreszeit (Vivaldi - The Fifth Season) is not an undiscovered work by the Venetian master, but a twenty-first-century, cross-genre opera from the pen of Christian Kolonovits.
The premise of Vivaldi - The Fifth Season is to recreate the composer’s persona as a rock god of the Baroque (or should that be BaRock) era, and the discovery of his diary by a contemporary girl group the device Kolonovits and his librettist, Angelika Messner, use to imagine what a superstar would have looked like in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Born in 1952 in Rechnitz (Austria) to Hungarian and Croatian parents, Christian Kolonovits’ creativity seemingly knows no boundaries. He has worked as an arranger, producer and composer and has amassed an astonishing catalogue of work in film, pop, rock, classical music and theatre. He was one of the architects of Germany’s contribution to the disco revolution of the 1970s, which saw the rise of groups such as Eruption and Boney M, but has also gone on to create a phenomenal body of work with the biggest names in opera, including Luciano Pavarotti, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Elīna Garanča.
Angelika Messner, who was born in Vienna in 1969, is that rare thing: a modern-day librettist. She has collaborated with Kolonovits on many other projects prior to creating the narrative for Vivaldi - The Fifth Season, including Coming Home (2004), Csaterberg (2006), Antonia und der Reißteufel (2009) and El Juez (2014), which featured the stage comeback of José Carreras.
Now audiences have the opportunity to enjoy Vivaldi - The Fifth Season, a new fusion of baroque and rock music, at the venue chosen for its world premiere, the Volksoper Wien; a work that confirms Kolonovits and Messner's status as artists for all seasons.