Hungarian composer György Kurtág has transformed Samuel Beckett's absurdist masterpiece Fin de partie into an opera.
In 1957, the Hungarian composer György Kurtág attended the Paris premiere of Fin de Partie (Endgame), the absurdist play by the Irish author Samuel Beckett. "One of the most deeply affecting experiences in my life," he later recalled. Even though Kurtág found the perfect match for music theatre in Beckett, it took until 2010 for the composer, by then much advanced in years, to attempt an opera after Fin de Partie. After seven years of intense labour, Kurtág's opera premiered at the Scala in Milan in 2018. Fin de Partie or Endgame is an apt title for the opera and the piece: Beckett's four characters know that the end of the world will soon come and play a game to pass the time in which they take turns claiming their roles as vain actors in the meaningless script of life. With its extreme concentration on the word and its highly intriguing and refined sound palette, Kurtág's Fin de Partie is already considered one of the absolute masterpieces of the opera repertoire.