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Andrew Norman's first opera A Trip to the Moon Debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic

Jun. 01, 2017

Andrew Norman's first opera <em>A Trip to the Moon</em> Debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic

The widely-anticipated world premiere of Andrew Norman’s first opera, A Trip to the Moon, takes place June 17 with Simon Rattle leading the Berlin Philharmonic as part of the orchestra’s “Vocal Heroes” project. The Philharmonic is joined by young instrumentalists and singers from the Vocal Heroes Children’s, Youth and Project Choirs, directed by Simon Halsey. The premiere features concert staging by Ela Baumann.

Taking inspiration from Georges Méliès’s seminal 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon, Andrew Norman’s whimsical first opera follows a band of bumbling astronomers and their documentarian (the young Georges Méliès himself) as they explore the moon, try to fix their broken rocket, and interact with a mysterious race of moon people who are facing a perilous threat of their own: a child-eating monster that lurks outside of their town. Through the opera, Norman uses elements of early science fiction to address contemporary themes of otherness, exploring how and why groups of people misunderstand, fear and hate each other, and how those misunderstandings can ultimately be overcome to affect mutual good.

“What appealed to me the most about this story,” Norman writes, “was the fact that I could use it to explore how communities deal with the “other” in their midst. I was deeply affected by contemporary events while writing the opera, and in many ways this project is a response to the devastating rhetoric of fear, anger, and hate toward the other that I see welling up in so many places.”

A Trip to the Moon was co-commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Subsequent performances take place in London on July 9 (with Rattle and Halsey leading the London Symphony Orchestra and LSO Discovery and Community Choirs) and in Los Angeles on March 2 and 3, 2018 (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Master Chorale led by Teddy Abrams and choral director Grant Gershon, and with concert staging by Yuval Sharon).

Listen to a recording of Andrew Norman's Play, which was awarded the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition:

Subscribers to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall can stream the premiere performances of A Trip to the Moon online, beginning June 17.

For more information on Andrew Norman, visit

Andrew Norman
A Trip to the Moon (2017)
an opera for people of all ages
inspired by George Méliès’s silent film “A Trip to the Moon” (1902)
words and music (Eng, Moonish) by Andrew Norman
German translation by David Paul
for 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos, 2 tenors, baritone, 6 speaking roles, adult choir, youth choir, children’s choir and 3 conducting roles

Play (2013, rev. 2016)
for orchestra