Anders Monrad, Superflex, Nikolaj Heltoft – The Mærsk Opera


LP – Dacapo

On the island of Holmen, in the center of Copenhagen, stands the Copenhagen Opera House, one of the most important and expensive opera houses ever made. For political and fiscal reasons, and also because of its extreme contemporaneity, the space was the object of many controversial opinions and debates even before its official opening on January 2005. The collective formed by the multidisciplinary artist Superflex, the composer Anders Monrad and the journalist Nikolaj Heltoft joined this discussion with a project based on the events leading to the opening of the building, a project which is also an artistic consideration of the musical genre of opera itself. It is interesting to stress that the making of this meta-musical project has also been subject to some difficulties and complications. The Mærsk Opera, after the refusal of the Minister of the Cultural Affairs Uffe Elbæk and the management of Royal Danish Theatre, was then exhibited at the Center of Contemporary Art Kunsthal Nikolaj in Copenhagen. The lack of support from these cultural institutions prevented the staging of the work for some years, until the production of an art movie including the entire work was made. The music was recorded at the Opera House only after the preview of the movie and the whole score is only now officially published by Dacapo Records. When Anders Monrad and Superflex developed the booklet and the music, they drew inspiration from the fact that the creator of the Opera House, Mærsk McKinney Møller, a Danish ship owner, capitalist and philanthropist, was actually not a lover of the operatic genre, but, more prosaically, enjoyed different styles such as easy listening and country rock. Indeed, this paradox was crucial for the development of the music, which has a rich instrumentation and, in particular, many rhythmic elements. The grandiose architecture of the Opera House stands in front of the official residence of the Danish Queen, on the harbour side and lined up with the Marble Church. The building is a symbol for how the negotiation of power provided by corporate money is unavoidable in contemporary society.


The Mærsk Opera – Trailer