The Hunting Gun

Friday 7 Jun 2019 - Sunday 9 Jun 2019

Part of Aldeburgh Festival

Thomas Larcher’s highly-acclaimed first opera is based on a best-selling post-war Japanese novella, a universal story of deception of others and of ourselves.

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Thomas Larcher music
Words by Friederike Gösweiner
after a novella by Yasushi Inoue

Ryan Wigglesworth conductor
Karl Markovics director
Katharina Wöppermann designer
Bernd Purkrabek lighting designer
Knussen Chamber Orchestra
EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble

Samuel Boden
Peter Schöne
Sarah Aristidou
Giulia Peri
Iris Van Wijnen

The performance lasts approximately 1 hour 45 minutes without an interval. Sung in German with English surtitles.

Pre-performance talk with the creative team: 6.30pm on Friday 7 June.

A poet passes a hunter while climbing a mountain and publishes a poem about the hunter’s lonely, haunted expression. The Hunter happens to read the poem and recognises himself in it. He sends the author three letters: from his wife, his lover and her daughter. Three letters by three women to one man become a gripping fable retold in language of stark poetic simplicity as the central figure helplessly observes the unfolding tragedy, all the while clasping his gun that ‘presses the whole burden deep into the lonely man’s body and soul.’

As befits its source material, the opera’s action is often understated and stylised, set amid a ravishing but fragile backdrop of paper and the subtly shifting play of light. It is from the orchestral pit that the drama and turbulence of human emotion and interaction plays out, with a score of luminous beauty and ferocious intensity.

Larcher writes: ‘When I read the story of The Hunting Gun for the first time, I was immediately captured by its timelessness. It addresses questions encountered and recognised by absolutely everyone involved in relationships with other individuals, myself included, such as whether to stay or leave, speak out or stay silent, hold on or let go.’

‘A clear, powerful text, some striking imagery and a luminous score of great beauty and originality ensure this opera’s success’

The Observer


The Hunting Gun was commissioned and originally produced by the Bregenzer Festspiele, Austria.

Photos by Stephen Cummiskey


Thomas Larcher

"one of the few current composers whose work sounds like no-one else’s […] his extraordinary, arresting, communicative music is one of this century’s wonders."

The Times

Born in 1963, Austrian composer and pianist Thomas Larcher combines extended performance techniques with contemplative harmonies – fascinated by the freedom of contemporary composition and at the same time responsive to tradition.

The winner of the prestigious Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco Composition Prize in 2018, Larcher has said about his work: ‘My roots lie in decades of embedding the music and formal ideas of the classics. My music is communicative: it challenges the attentive listener but is meant to be readily intelligible in concert.’

Concerts featuring music by Thomas Larcher