Other Buildings

Other Buildings was commissioned by Den Fynske Opera in 2011 in connection with The Danish Arts Council resident composer arrangement.
Libretto: Rasmus Zwicki
First performance: April 24, 2015
First Cast: Senza; Stina Schmidt, Paura; Tina Kiberg, Pietá: Lise-Lotte Nielsen, Veloce: Kiki Brandt, Ricordo: Jens Søndergaard, Accurato: David Danholt, Opposto: Jesper Brun Con Brio: Thomas Storm Hansen
Solo voices: Soprano, dramatic soprano, sobrette, mezzo soprano, tenor, 2 baritones, bassbaritone
Orchestra:  Flute, Klarinet, 2 F-horn (/Bb Wagner tuba), trumpet, tuba, percussion, 2 keyboards, violin, viola, cello
Duration: 140 minutes
Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

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Programme Note:

At the centre of the opera Other Buildings stands Senza, a woman searching for her lost love, Ricordo. Senza knows that he lives in Building 2, but she has an idea that it is perhaps not the only building that exists, and in her ever more desperate search for Ricordo, she begins to explore the labyrinth of offices and departments in which she finds herself.

Amidst Senza’s trivial working life at the Department of Valuations and her idealized memory of the relationship with Ricordo, there now begins a remarkable voyage of discovery that gradually takes Senza farther out in Building 2, and deeper within herself. It is not easy to find missing persons in Building 2, and looking for them is in itself highly suspicious, but the more resistance she meets, the more stubborn and curious she becomes in her quest to understand what is going on.

On her journey through the building Senza discovers among other things how the key figures from which everything is calculated are generated in a meaningless, random way in a small office on the fourth floor. She also visits the Department of Lost Property, where she almost forgets what it is she is looking for, and in the Department of Creativity and Innovation she finds an isolated and odd, but extremely inventive departmental head who takes a fancy to her.

But Senza is now so obsessed with returning to her past with Ricordo that the only one she really listens to is the change-resistant, slightly paranoid Oposto. He is the leader of the secret resis­tance movement that fights to make everything as it once was. Helpless in the face of Building 2’s impenetrable bureaucracy Senza seizes a chance to replaces the random key figures with her own, very low figures, and thus makes the whole of Building 2 break down in chaos. Now a relentless pursuit of the culprit begins. Senza must hide while she watches how her whole world falls apart, and the hope of seeing Ricordo again crumbles away.

In the end she is captured by the merciless intelligence service which among other things knows about her idea that other buildings than Building 2 exist. Through interrogation and torture they try to extort information from Senza about other buildings. She denies all knowledge of them, but in the end she is introduced to a witness: an intelligence officer who says that Senza has told him in confidence how alien she feels in Building 2, and that she has spoken to him about other build­ings. When Senza listens to the witness and recognizes Ricordo’s vice, she breaks down.