In what is undoubtedly a signature event of his first season as music director, Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic in the New York premiere of György Ligeti's outrageous and absurdist opera Le Grand Macabre. Premiered in Stockholm in 1978, the opera has received numerous stagings throughout Europe but only one in the U.S., in San Francisco in 2004. The Philharmonic's production features a cast of 11 soloists and the New York Choral Artists with direction and design by Douglas Fitch and production by Edouard Getaz.
Le Grand Macabre is the magnum opus of the late Hungarian modernist composer Ligeti. The farcical plot revolves around the Death-like Nekrotzar (bass-baritone Eric Owens), who attempts to end the world ahead of schedule. With its full slate of riotous, grotesque sounds, bizarre characters and absurdist theatrics, it’s certainly not your routine night at the opera.