Poul Ruders' opera Tycho in 3 Acts, was premiered May 15 1987 by Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and Kaare Hansen (conductor) at Helsingør Theater in Aarhus, Denmark.
Libretto in Danish by Henrik Bjelke.
Full score: WH31457
In 1597 the famous Danish astronomer and astrologist, the nobleman Tycho Brahe flees his castle cum observatory Uraniburg on one of the small islands off the Danish coast.
The newly coronated King Christian the Fourth has a grudge against Tycho, who in 1572 discovered a new star Stella Nova by using his naked eye only; the telescope wasn’t invented yet. This discovery gained Tycho tremendous fame among his contemporaries within the European scientific circles. The now weakened and embittered old man moves together with his wife Christina, whom he raped when she was an adolescent, and Jeppe the Dwarf, his fool-servant, whose life Tycho once saved, to the plague-infested city of Prague.
There, at the Benatky Castle, Tycho encounters the main reason for his departure from Denmark: the young German mathematician Johannes Kepler, the only scientist among his contemporaries Tycho acknowledges, - Tycho is in severe need of intelligent challenge. Which he gets and with a disastrous result for himself.
The encouraging encounter with Kepler turns into Tycho's scientific and earthly death verdict. Slowly Tycho realizes, that his own conception of the Earth as the indisputable axes of the Universe is shattered by Kepler s theory about Earth encircling the stationary Sun. The ancient picture of the Universe collapses, Tycho feels deceived by Kepler who leaves the castle, shaken by Tycho's wrath. But they meet again and reunite in a Romanza a Due at Tycho’s death bed.
The opera hovers above immense sadness and extreme ridicule - the cast is most peculiar indeed - so in many ways "TYCHO" may be described at the best as a "Tragic Operetta" really.
- Poul Ruders