Karlheinz Stockhausen Freitag aus Licht
Music, libretto, action, and gestures
Karlheinz Stockhausen


In partnership with Philharmonie de Paris and Le Balcon, Festival d’Automne presents Friday, another step in its production of the extensive cycle Licht (Light), to which Karlheinz Stockhausen dedicated 25 years of his life. In this piece, music is not just the art of making sound; it makes us aware of the orders in the universe.

The fifth opera in Licht—and the fourth one to be produced—Friday is the day of temptation, of conflict between opposing forces, which are two overarching themes in the cycle: Lucifer, a negating mind, a cantor of multiplicity, going as Ludon; and Eve, Mother of Everything, a cosmic seductress. Lucifer attempts to convince Eve to marry his son, Cain, and join the revolution against Heaven. At first reluctant, she eventually gives in for the sake of humankind. The couple’s children play and laugh in utter joy, supported by Western and African instruments. However, this union is an upset to God, who triggers an atrocious war involving, among others, a winged rhinoceros and a fire breather. Throughout the opera's two acts, strange silhouettes, halfway between humans, animals, and mechanical objects, form twelve couples mimicking sexual intercourse. They spawn hybrid forms: a cat-man, a moon-syringe, a nest-bow, a typewriter-car... Eventually, these creatures fuse together into a great fire spiral. With fantasy imagery borrowed from the Genesis and The Urantia Book, Stockhausen produces luxurious, all-encompassing electronic music, of which he is one of the greatest masters.