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Animal Farm

Music Alexander Raskatov / Text Ian Burton & Alexander Raskatov

Wiener Staatsoper

The audience will see the premiere of an opera based on Orwell’s classic of the dystopia of a failed liberation struggle. The animals on a squalid farm revolt against their tyrannical owners, but soon come under the rule of a new leader from their own ranks.

Director Damiano Michieletto has long wished to bring Animal Farm to the opera stage. »The story is simple, a sort of fairy tale which, if you look at it more closely, deals with important issues such as power, oppression and propaganda in a nuanced way. The story is horrible but has comic elements as well. And it allows you to have not only a lot of solo roles but also a chorus«, Michieletto notes. He found the ideal partner in Alexander Raskatov. The composer was born to a Jewish Russian family in Moscow on the day of Stalin’s burial in 1953, not far from Red Square, and has won acclaim with his setting of another literary masterpiece critical of the Soviet Union – A Dog’s Heart, based on Bulgakov’s novella, and also premiered at Dutch National Opera, followed by performances in London, Milan and Lyon.

Director Michielletto set the story in an ab- attoir, rather than a farmyard. »The characters are waiting to be slaughtered here. They’re locked in cages, dreaming of freedom. To be an animal here means being a slave, meat, an object in the hands of humans.« M

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