Vapours of Love

Vapours of Love was commissioned by Aarhus Summer Opera in 2008
Libretto: Bent Nørgaard, basered on Iselin Herman’s novel “Dampe”
First performance: Sept 2009
First Cast:  Kristine Becker Lund; Helene Gjerris; Magnus Vigilius; Jens Bruno Hansen; Astrid Kjeldgaard; Louis Mark Pedersen
Solo voices:  Soprano/Berthe, Mezzo/Adolphine, Tenor/Jacob, Baritone/Dr. J. J. Dampe, two children
Orchestra: 1-1-1-1 / 1-0-0-0/harpe, perc / 1-1-1-1-1
Duration: 120 min.
Publisher: Edition PaperMusic

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Programme Note:

Great emotions are at stake in “Vapours of Love”. Emotions related to desire, related to love and sacrifice for another human being. Emotions relating to a life lived and the ability to manage a life filled with pain of separation from a loved one. A school teacher on the run from a failed relationship with a married woman in Copenhagen seeking refuge on the remote island of Christiansø, falls in love with (is seduced by) another married woman. They form  a relationship, while at the same time he is haunted by the island’s ghost, Doctor JJ Dampe, a kind of alter ego, who draws parallels between his own love story and the school teacher’s love affair. The opera, which is a love quartet, based on two parallel stories that weave in and out of one another across time and place. It creates a special “layered” structure, which provides the supporting love story between the fisherman’s wife Berthe and schoolteacher Jacob depth. At the same time it tells the story of the actual Danish historical personage, Dr.  Jacob Dampe, who basically was one of the first fighters for human rights in a time of a strict monachy in Danish history. He was jailed in strict solitary confinement on the small island of Christiansø for 20 years.