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date: 19 November 2019

Aniaralocked

  • Anders Wiklund

Extract

‘Revue about man in time and space’ in two acts by Karl-Birger Blomdahl to a libretto by Erik Lindegren after Harry Martinson’s poem; Stockholm, Royal Opera, 31 May 1959.

The space-ship Aniara has left the desolated and poisoned Earth and is travelling to Mars. Through Mimaroben (bass-baritone), operator of the Mima (tape), a computer which is the master of Aniara, the emigrants learn about the cruelty of man. During the midsummer celebration Aniara is thrown off its course and panic breaks out. The commander, Chefone (baritone), says that the passengers are now doomed to travel towards the constellation Lyra until the ends of their lives. The Chief Technician I (tenor) compares the journey to the movement of an air-bubble through glass. A beam from the Mima blows up the Earth. The comedian Sandon (high buffo tenor) jokes that everyone is safe, but he falls silent when the Deaf Mute (mute role), in sign language, describes the end of the world. After this the Mima cannot survive. Chefone blames Mimaroben and takes him and the pilot Isagel (dancer) away. Despair and moral decline spread. A scene in the Hall of Mirrors shows Daisy Dodd (soprano) and her lesbian partner Libidel (dancer), passengers dancing lasciviously, and the Blind Poetess (high soprano), whose Light cult has replaced the Mima. Next the 20th anniversary of the departure from the Earth is celebrated, and the dead body of the Chief Technician I is shot into space. The Blind Poetess falls into ecstasy because she has seen the city of heaven, but she is taken away by men in white coats. In the final scene, on the last night in the ship, Isagel dances her swan-song. The Blind Poetess sings about the bliss of death, and a beam of light sweeps over the dead passengers; Mimaroben prepares for the end of the journey....

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