Claude Vivier
Peter Sellars Kopernikus, A Ritual Opera of Death


Visionaries from all centuries, gather round!” Lewis Carroll meets Mozart. A witch meets a blind prophet or an aged monk. Merlin the Magician meets the Queen of the Night. Tristan and Isolde converse at a distance in an awe-inspiring ritual of death. The opera Kopernikus, marked with both fire and water, is one such encounter, in wonderment.

Find the soul of the human race and place it there in front of the human race, make individuals face up to themselves again, individually and infinitely, confronting the total mystery that is the Universe, contemplating it, so as eventually to be able to find a way in it.
[Claude Vivier]
Copernicus, the man behind the title of the opera, brought the revolution that radically changed man’s way of seeing things, shifting from the earth to the sun and its sacred flames. Barely a few stories – for there is no dramatic conflict here, no role, merely references to mythology, fairy tales and history – but there is a dream of life, and the ceremony held when born again after death. In the quest for revelation, Kopernikus aspires to complete purification, to a pure state of mind. To achieve this, many situations are experienced: childhood and games, life, love and death, God, stars, colors and light, eternity and the laws of the seraphim, the “stagnation of temporal phenomena,” mystical birds, and the cherubim singing celestial melodies. A transition, as it were, from one form of consciousness to the other.
As it moves through worlds from life, through death, and into new life, Vivier’s music finds a peace beyond peace, sacred rest in metaphysical action. The visionaries are arriving. We no longer need to be afraid.”
[Peter Sellars]
Running time: 1h20