Ola Heinpalu in On the Other Side of the Sea (The sisters)at Malmö opera
The Sisters is an evening of two one-act operas. Two poetic and gripping stories about people who’ve been hard hit by life's circumstances: Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Catharina Backman’s brand new opera On the Other Side of the Sea.
On the Other Side of the Sea is a completely new opera with music by Catharina Backman and libretto by Maria Sundqvist. The plot is based on a short story by Birgitta Trotzig and it is the first time ever that Trotzig’s work is dramatized. It is also the first time an opera by a female composer is performed on our main stage.
The Scanian author Birgitta Trotzig, who was a member of the Swedish Academy from 1993 until her death in 2011, wrote in a poetic and intense style. Her prose recalls genres such as folk tales, biblical legends and hymns. On the Other Side of the Sea is a cruel fairy tale with elements of realism.
The opera is set in Russia at the end of the 19th century. A poor couple has their first child and at the same time take in a foundling. The two girls grow up as sisters and are inseparable. When the father is forced into war, the mother gives her own daughter up for adoption to a wealthy family, in the hope that she will have a better life without poverty. The sisters are separated but never stop longing and looking for each other.