News from the DESY research centreMusic, religion and science meet in an opera about creationGerman premiere of Gloria Bruni´s opera “Creation” in St. Catherine´s church in Hamburg
18 April 2023
Photo: NASA, Gloria Bruni
On 27 April, fragments of the opera “Creation” (“Schöpfung”) by composer and singer Gloria Bruni will have their German premiere at St. Catherine´s Church (Hauptkirche St. Katharinen) in Hamburg. With inspiration from conversations with scientists at DESY, the music is intended as a contribution to the human search for answers to questions about the birth of the universe, life and humankind, and shares the current concerns about creation and the future of our planet as a place worth living in.
Gloria Bruni´s opera will be performed in concert by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Wolf Kerschek (conductor) and the International Choir Academy under the direction of Rolf Beck. A choir of DESY staff will also join the Choir Academy in performing a physical equation for orchestra and choir set to music by Bruni - the “Lagrange equation”, which attempts to describe the behaviour of the fundamental forces of nature in a single mathematical formula.
DESY is the patron of this world premiere because a visit to the research centre and intensive discussions with particle physicist Isabell Melzer-Pellmann, head of a DESY research group for particle physics, strengthened Gloria Bruni´s interest in the origin and history of the universe. She has been fascinated by this topic and concepts like infinity since childhood, fuelled by her father, who was also a physicist. Katharina Fegebank, Second Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Senator in the Ministry of Science, Research and Equality, is also a patron of the concert. It is also supported by the Universität Hamburg and the Cluster of Excellence “Quantum Universe”.
“Where do we come from? Where are we going? How and why did everything begin? These are eternal questions about the origin and infinity of being that have been driving humanity for millennia. My music strives for higher truths, searches for connecting lines between faith and science, and for connections between science and culture,” Gloria Bruni explains.
“We are very proud to have served as inspiration and sparring partner for this great work and to be able to contribute not only scientifically, but also musically through our choir,” says DESY Director of Particle Physics Beate Heinemann. “We constantly explore the questions of how the universe began, what rules it operates by, and what that can tell us about the future. To see the same questions interpreted by artists like Gloria Bruni is also inspiring for us scientists.”
“Creation - Fragments” combines sounds of creation with liturgical melodies and creates a tension between scientific theory about the origin of the universe and life and the wonder of creation. The world premiere was highly acclaimed by the audience in Venice in October 2022 in the traditional church of San Fantin. DESY had also been the patron of this concert. After a long time, “Creation” brings a work by composer Bruni back to her hometown of Hamburg. Prior to the performance, there will be introductions by representatives of religion, science and culture who will discuss the origin of the universe, among them Prof. Beate Heinemann, Director of Particle Physics at DESY in Hamburg. For this project, the Hauptkirche St. Katharinen is more than just a concert hall - after all, churches are in a way the built question of the whence, the whither and the possibility or impossibility of meaning.
Accompanying evening lecture
“Time travel to the beginning of the universe” at DESY on 19 April
DESY will provide the scientific background to the concert on Wednesday, 19 April at 19:00 in the DESY auditorium with an evening programme of lectures and physics experiments easy to understand for the general public. In the first lecture, DESY Director of Particle Physics Beate Heinemann will explain what happened in the first three minutes of the universe. Theorist Alexander Westphal will delve even deeper and focus on the first billionth of a second of the universe. Before and after the lectures, there will be physics experiments in the lecture hall foyer to try out, take part in and marvel at. Media representatives are welcome to get a foretaste of the concert. The composer will also be present.http://www.desy.de/aktuelles/oeffentliche_abendvortraege/hamburg/index_ger.html