The Alma Fetish

The Alma Fetish

World premiere concert performance of new opera by Raymond Deane (music) and Gavin Kostick (libretto)
Wide Open Opera

A new opera based on real events surrounding the doomed love affair between Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka and Alma Mahler, widow of composer Gustav.

When the early passion of their affair faded away, Alma taunted Oskar to go and fight in World War One, paving the way for her next lover. Grievously wounded and suffering from shell-shock, Oskar’s only path back to sanity was to commission a life size doll of Alma with whom he lived as a partner – eating meals, going for a ride in the carriage – attending the opera. The scandal in Vienna was huge, but when Oskar regained his equilibrium, he realised he no longer needed the doll, he arranged a party with all his students, and they drunkenly “beheaded” the doll.

The concept for this opera was first proposed by artist Pauline Bewick, and one scene of the opera was commissioned by RTÉ lyric fm, and recorded for broadcast in 2009. This 2013 premiere performance was given by Wide Open Opera in conjunction with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the National Concert Hall with visuals by Pauline Bewick projected on a large screen above the stage.

National Concert Hall, Dublin 17 September 2013

Creative Team:
Composer: Raymond Deane
Librettist: Gavin Kostick
Visuals: Pauline Bewick
Lighting Design: Mark Galione

Majella Cullagh (Alma)
Leigh Melrose (Oskar)
Daire Halpin (Hulda)
Greame Danby (Russian Soldier)
Megan Kennedy (Doll)
Deirdre Moynihan (Voice of the Doll)
Laura Murphy (Female Guest 1)
Deirdre Moynihan (Female Guest 2)
Eugene Ginty (Male Guest)
Catherine Redding (Female Student 1)
Maria Kelly (Female Student 2)
Richard Shaffrey (Male Student 1)
Nathan Morrison (Male Student 2)

Chorus of Wide Open Opera
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Fergus Sheil Conductor

“Deane’s music was forceful and dynamic in the hands of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. I suspect nothing on Ireland’s opera stage, north or south, this year will equal this remarkable achievement.”  Sunday Business Post

Conductor Fergus Sheil draws out Deane’s rich Viennese flavours and references in a full-bodied performance form the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra” The Irish Times