An opera by Camille van Lunen
after the book by Redmond O’Hanlon
An opera after the book by Redmond O’Hanlon
Libretto by Roderick Shaw and Camille van Lunen
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The theme and rhythms of the book Trawler inspire Camille van Lunen‘s original music drama. The extreme
weather and violence of the sea together with the merciless tempo of work on board find expression
in her unique musical language. Trawler is a voyage into the souls of the young fishermen whose harsh
life at sea is dominated by fear yet alleviated by comradeship and humour. Women, though never on
board, inhabit their dreams and hallucinations and eventually become the turning point of the opera. For
days on end, men are confined at close quarters on a ship in the middle of a storm. Sleepless and exhausted,
the barriers fall and they reveal their deepest hopes and fears with aggressive honesty.
The presence of writer Redmond O‘Hanlon on the trawler provokes new tensions among the crew but
also provides them with irresistibly comic moments. „With you aboard, we‘ve never had such laughs.“
About the composition
First, an enormous wave. A sound wells up and comes roaring in from the North Sea.
The orchestration evokes the strangeness and mysterious beauty of the fish inhabiting
the ocean’s depths. Camille van Lunen at her best: lashings of energy, colour and
powerful poetry put into service of the drama, a drama developing both in the sea and
in the souls of the men an board. An original instrumentation: 3 horns sit opposite 3
celli. A flute, a bass clarinet and an accordion in their middle are set against a canvas
of multiple percussion.
The composer does not hesitate to explore unusual techniques, for example using the
stage set as an instrument. Van Lunen weaves several traditional Scottish folk songs,
sung with great verve by the fishermen, into her contemporary composition.
6 soloists: two tenors, three baritones, one bass
2 ghost voices (off-stage): two sopranos
Flute (doubling piccolo)
Percussion (two players)
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