The big noise on the Ruhr this year will be …. John Cage. Silence, please.

Heiner Goebbels, director of the Ruhr Triennale, has let slip that he plans to open his festival in August with Europera 1 & 2 by John Cage.

Unstaged in Europe since the 1987 Frankfurt premiere the pieces involve a blindfolded soprano and a mezzo in rabbits’ ears (Playboy, anyone?). There are three further operas in the sequence.

Cage, born September 5, 1912, would have turned 100 this summer.

photo: Cage, by Betty Freeman ((c) Lebrecht Music & Arts)


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  • Fantastic news. I saw Europeras 1 & 2 at the Summerfare Festival in Purchase, NY in the late eighties, and it was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.

    Many will know about Cage’s explanation of the title of the work, which was commissioned by Frankfurt Opera, but as with many Cage quotes, it’s worth repeating:

    “For two hundred years the Europeans have been sending us their operas. Now I’m sending them back.”

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