The authors o the opera have created a perect match o literary work and modern opera, witnessed by the audience,who at the premiere remained in revered silence or an entire minute ater the perormance had ended. Purge centres onthe the times o bloodbaths in the Soviet Union and traces the tales o two women in parallel. Their ate is the ate o thenation. In the story, the encounter o the older woman, Aliide, and young Zara, leads to the revealing o the two women’sharrowing pasts and also the history o Estonia moving back and orth rom the 1930s to the present day. The theme omodern day slavery and human trafcking becomes the sub text to the opera.
“An opera based on a novel nominated with Prix Femina and Fnac, Purge wakesup the frightening and shameful history, where two women have to facethe tragedy of destiny.”
La Scene (FRA)
Jüri Reinvere’s score, at once suggestive, expressive and dramatic, achieves an eect where the stage seems to mirror anentire society, flling the stage and creating intimate moments. His musical language is modern, but the ocus on grippingstory-telling makes Purge a classical opera. Reinvere has also written the libretto. “I emphasise Estonians coming toterms with the past. I claim that the past can only become the past when we have aced it eye to eye,” says Reinvere.Reinvere wanted to pay homage to classical opera and complete the most important arias. This opera is very challengingor the singers – both the soloists and the chorus. The part o the main character Aliide requires a range o two and a haloctaves. Additionally Reinvere uses documentary soundscapes, e.g. original sounds o American Studebaker-cars, whichthe Soviets used or the deportation o people to Siberia.“It was important that Purge was made an opera rom beginning to end.” says the composer. “It cannot be an illustrationo the book or the play. It has to work as the most classical operas work together, like Dumas and Verdi, or instance” andadds: “opera has a strange skill. It is simultaneously the truth, and more than the truth. By telling the truth o the past, wecan understand fnally the present, both in ourselves and in the music, which we are surrounded by”.
“In the orchestration of Purge, often it feels, a chilling gale blows from Siberia.Obsessive, nightmare whirls create a collective inner landscape, which is succumbed by devastative forces. Expressive is also the ghostly silence.”
Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s leading national newspaper
“Reinvere’s music [...] unveils the hidden layers of original novel. [..] It’s a neoexpressionistic music drama, where contrary to its infamous preceedersis more light, colour and air.”
For more inormation about the production and the cast, please visit www.opera.f/en/productions/purge/845
London, 2011Back in London I all onto the bed, exhausted. My riend does not allow me to stay, orcing me to leave to townevery morning at eight. Probably this saves me.I try not to listen music. My perception has become extra-sensitive—at night I smell the toothpaste rom thebathroom. On a street, passing by, I see Aliide and Zara entering a shop.Coee in the mornings, newspapers piled on the oor, the crackling sound o BBC Radio4. Lunch at Sheekey’s.I buy mysel an orange bow tie or a wedding. I recognize the shop assistant having a Polish accent, and eventuallyspeak Polish to her. She tells me she has escaped Poland and is hiding here rom her boyriend. “Do you haveanywhere to stay in London?” she asks. “I not, you can always stay at my place.”“You know what, I am just writing an opera about you,” I think to mysel.But then I say nothing.(extract rom Reinvere’s blog purgeopera.wordpress.com)