Olga Neuwirth

›Lost Highway‹ at the Frankfurt Opera

The Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth (b. 1968) and Elfriede Jelinek based their opera, first performed in 2003, on David Lynch's film ›Lost Highway‹, a fascinating combination of psycho-thriller, horror and film noir. ›Lost Highway‹ is the story of the jazz musician Fred Madison, who becomes increasingly estranged from his own existence. His doubts in his wife’s faithfulness, in himself, finally also in her and his own identity, become obsessive and are accompanied by a loss of a sense of reality. Throughout the script runs a very ambitious manner of storytelling, constantly leading any kind of linear action into dead ends. The scenes change like in a delirium: time and space are unstable – as are identities and sound worlds. Olga Neuwirth's score is intermedial and full of complex notation: fade-outs are altered sound spaces, lavish live electronics and the multiple use of vocal expression are confronted with visual dimensions even in the work’s texture. The integration of video makes fictional reality more and more virtual – making the protagonists and audience feel as if they are being left at the mercy of something menacing. ›Lost Highway‹, directed by Yuval Sharon, will be performed six times starting on September 12, 2018 at the Bockenheimer Depot, with Karsten Januschke conducting Ensemble Modern.