Reviews of ANIARA: fragments of time and space at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Oct 10, 2019 Reviews of ANIARA: fragments of time and space at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet

ANIARA: fragments of time and space was performed at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet – Almi Stage – September 16-21, 2019. Here are the reviews:

Maggio’s composition is highly-skilled… The music is laden with melancholy and its main feature is a minimalism that fits the small and skillful chamber choir well. At times Maggio swings over to jazz, which the choir adapts to well. As a whole the piece is deeply touching and the staging is thoroughly considered and powerful… Klockriketeatern’s production as well as Maggio’s music absorb the spectator.

–Savon Sanomat, 18.09.2019

a floating, dreamlike audiovisual quality, where the choral performers in white timeless costume, with consistent dramatic or lyric singing, both as a choir and through solos, drive the plot forward.

The music with its genre leaps, containing among other buddhist measures featuring a gong, simply put, feels interesting throughout… this multicultural mix consisting of seventeen fragments about hope and despair, schism and pain, philosophy and existentialism, form a commendable cosmic tale about humankind at a crossroads, as topical today as when it was first published.

–Östnyland Review, 20.9.2019

Within the chosen free tonality and spiritedly eclectic esthetics Maggio shows yet new sides to his musical expression. He reveals himself to be a chameleon of genres that is able to in one moment write for a big gospel choir and in the very next moment explore the stillness of Arvo Pärt or the primitivism found within Beijing Opera (together with effectful dance by Antti Silvennoinen). … Toward the end the sounds are already so advanced that the bitonal chordstacks create close to a cosmic sound, as a work such as this one should.

–Hufvudstadsbladet, 19.9.2019

Aniara … is hard to define in terms of genre. It is hardly an opera as it does not have the traditional dramatic plot that would develop through conflicts between characters. In its repetitiveness it refers to the minimalistic, ritualistic, operatic style of Philip Glass and Michel van der Aan. Their work can often be said to be driven emotionally by a sense of endless melancholy, which is true also of Aniara.

Aniara is not a choral piece either, at least not in the purest sense of the word, because in addition to singing the choir also acts and moves in a way that is quite far fron how a choir traditionally performs, static and stationary. In terms of genre Aniara is something in between, but that does reduce this rich and touching piece of art.

Robert Maggio certainly knows how to write for the choir. And what he writes The Crossing Choir certainly knows how to put into practice. The choir sounds astonishingly well tuned and the singing is meticulous. The result is a sophisticated and coherent sound quality…In Aniara even sharp dissonant sounds sparkle. The Crossing is definitely one of the best choirs I have heard.

–Helsingin Sanomat, 18.9.2019

Aniara – fragments of time and space at the National Opera is a multilayered and poignant experience about existential sorrow and longing in the boundless emptiness of space.

The double Grammy-winning choir performs with breathtaking technical skill that makes the music sound next to otherwordly.

Aniara – fragments of time and space is an eerie tale. It conveys an atmosphere of heavy sorrow for and longing back to a home that has been destroyed, as well as a hope for a new home beyond any reason, even though one senses there is no end to this neverending journey into space.

–YLE – Finnish national broadcasting company, Swedish department, 18.9.2019