FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 203 Swedish Opera ANIARA (featured artist is David Weinrib)


Alla tider stråla samman – dokumentär om Aniara 1997 del 4 av 5

Aniara (opera)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Premiere production at the Royal Opera, Stockholm 1959. Set by Sven Erixson.

Kjerstin Dellert and Olle Sivall in the premiere production.

Aniara is an opera in two acts by Karl-Birger Blomdahl, with a libretto by Erik Lindegren based on the poem Aniara by Harry Martinson, that was premiered in 1959.[1] Subtitle of poem and opera is the ambiguous phrase En revy om människan i tid och rum: “A revue/review about Man in Time and Space”.[2]

The score of Aniara is varied and makes full use of a range of musical idioms, including jazz, serial writing and an electronic tape. The narrative is sung primarily by Mimaroben, a bass-baritone, who operates the electronic tape, Mima, the computer, and by the chorus.[1] In essence the opera (and poem) deal with the relationship between the individual and the group through time.

Many representatives of the international press were in Stockholm for the premiere in 1959 at a time when the space age was beginning.[2] Blomdahl said in interview that the opera (in common with his next opera Herr von Hancken) was founded on “modern man’s complexity and his basically impossible situation”; Aniara dealt with “the downfall of the group”.[3] A production was mounted in Gothenburg in 1994.[4]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 31 May 1959[5]
(Conductor: Sixten Ehrling)
Mimaroben baritone Erik Saedén
The blind poetess high soprano Margareta Hallin
Daisi Doody soprano Kjerstin Dellert
Libidel dancer
Three chief technicians 2 tenors, baritone Sven-Erik Wikström, Arne Ohlson, Bo Lundborg
Comedian, Sandon high buffo tenor Olle Sivall
Isagel dancer Loulou Portefaix
Den stenstumt döve tenor Ragnar Ulfung
Chefone bass-baritone Arne Tyrén
Chorus: space cadets, passengers


Controlled by the computer Mima, the space ship Aniara leaves the poisoned Earth, heading for Mars. Through Mimaroben, who is the operator of Mima, the emigrants learn of the evil of mankind.

During the celebration of midsummer, the vessel is thrown off course, causing panic, and forcing a journey to the constellation Lyra which commander Chefone says will last for the rest of the lives of the crew and passengers. When the Earth is destroyed, Mima cannot continue, and Sandon makes jokes about the safety on board, but when the mute describes in signs the end of the world he becomes silent. Chefone blames Mimaroben, who, with the pilot Isagel, is taken away.

The commander deals as best he can with the increased despair and moral deterioration among those aboard, depicted in a scene in a hall of mirrors, where Daisy Dodd, her lesbian partner, and the passengers dance, and the blind poetess speaks of her cult of Light, which has replaced Mima. The body of the dead chief technician is shot into outer space in the direction of the star Rigel. The 20th anniversary of the voyage is celebrated, and the blind poetess ecstatically sees the city of heaven, but is taken away.

The final scene shows the last night onboard where Isagel dances and the blind poetess sings of the joy of death. A light beam sweeps over the dead passengers and Mimaroben prepares for the end. Finally darkness descends over the occupants of the space ship, and the audience in the theatre.


The first performance was broadcast by Swedish Radio; a subsequent recording was conducted by Stig Westerberg, and included Viveka Anderberg, Björn Haugan, Stefan Parkman, Mikael Samuelson, Thomas Sunnegårdh and Jerker Arvidssonin among the cast.


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Wiklund A. Aniara. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Thoor A. Opera in Space and in the Round. In: Swedish music – past and present, special edition of Musikrevy. STIM & Swedish Institute for Cultural Relations Abroad, Stockholm, 1966.
  3. Jump up^ Hambraeus B. Conversation with Karl-Birger Blomdahl. In: Swedish music – past and present, special edition of Musikrevy. STIM & Swedish Institute for Cultural Relations Abroad, Stockholm, 1966.
  4. Jump up^
  5. Jump up^ Swedish Radio archive:




Charles Darwin also tried to put a positive spin on his evolutionary views.  Darwin wrote, “Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is…” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Now you have now the birth of Julian Huxley’s evolutionary optimistic humanism already stated by Darwin. Darwin now has a theory that man is going to be better. If you had lived at 1860 or 1890 and you said to Darwin, “By 1970 will man be better?” He certainly would have the hope that man would be better as Julian Huxley does today. Of course, I wonder what he would say if he lived in our day and saw what has been made of his own views in the direction of (the mass murder) Richard Speck (and deterministic thinking of today’s philosophers). I wonder what he would say. So you have the factor, already the dilemma in Darwin that I pointed out in Julian Huxley and that is evolutionary optimistic humanism rests always on tomorrow. You never have an argument from the present or the past for evolutionary optimistic humanism.

You can have evolutionary nihilism on the basis of the present and the past. Every time you have someone bringing in evolutionary optimistic humanism it is always based on what is going to be produced tomorrow. When is it coming? The years pass and is it coming? Arthur Koestler doesn’t think it is coming. He sees lots of problems here and puts forth for another solution.

Darwin wrote, “…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful…”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Here you feel Marcel Proust and the dust of death is on everything today because the dust of death is on everything tomorrow. Here you have the dilemma of Nevil Shute’s ON THE BEACH. If it is true that all we have left is biological continuity and biological complexity, which is all we have left in Darwinism here, or in many of the modern philosophies, then you can’t stand Shute’s ON THE BEACH. Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men. Charlie Chaplin when he heard there was no life on Mars said, “I’m lonely.”

You think of the Swedish Opera (ANIARA) that is pictured inside a spaceship. There was a group of men and women going into outer space and they had come to another planet and the singing inside the spaceship was normal opera music. Suddenly there was a big explosion and the world had blown up and these were the last people left, the only conscious people left, and the last scene is the spaceship is off course and it will never land, but will just sail out into outer space. They say when it was shown in Stockholm the first time, the tough Swedes with all their modern  mannishness, came out (after the opera was over) with hardly a word said, just complete silence.

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin, “You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

You find all he is left here is biological continuity, and thus his feeling as well as his reason now is against his own theory, yet he holds it against the conclusions of his reason. Reason doesn’t make it hard to be a Christian. Darwin shows us the other way. He is holding his position against his reason.


Featured artist is :David Weinrib

when david weinrib* installed hank de ricco’s 27 pole piece on the green area outside of the design center, it took me a while to get used to this


(L–R) Leon Smith, Guardian, 2003, painted steel, 5 ½ x 3 x 2½ feet; Sculpture Park Curator David Weinrib with sculptor Leon Smith

work called Double Loops 1965

1962 work called Needle

Weinrib’s Pocket

Published on Apr 11, 2014

Curatorium. Hudson ny

Sometimes we sit around Harriet HQ and daydream about what it woulda been like to be a student at Black Mountain College in the 50s. Sitting in on Charles Olson’s marathon workshops


8:00 pm, Friday, November 30
Admission: $7 / $5 BMCM+AC members + students w/ID

On Friday, November 30th at 8:00 pm the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (56 Broadway in downtown Asheville) presents a rare opportunity to hear first-hand about the Black Mountain College pottery program and the amazing artists who worked at the school in the early 1950s. Artist David Weinrib was potter-in-residence and guest faculty along with Karen Karnes from summer 1952 through summer 1954 at Black Mountain College.

In 1952, David Weinrib and Karen Karnes were invited to come to Black Mountain College for the summer. This visit evolved into their positions as BMC’s Potters in Residence. That same year, they played hosts to a symposium moderated by Marguerite Wildenhain, featuring Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada and Soetsu Yanagi as presenters. The following year, the pair organized a summer session with yet another influential group of ceramicists: Peter Voulkos, Daniel Rhodes and Warren Mackenzie. These symposia were hugely influential to the studio pottery movement, with some potters claiming that their directions as artists were forever altered.

In the time that followed his Black Mountain College experience, Weinrib was instrumental in starting the intentional community, the Gate Hill Cooperative at Stony Point in New York. Involved in this live/work project were several faces from BMC: John Cage, David Tudor, Karen Karnes, Paul & Vera Williams and M.C. Richards.

David Weinrib has worked as an instructor, potter, designer, curator and sculptor (in various mediums, including plastics), and has received numerous awards for his work. The pieces that Weinrib created at BMC have a painterly quality that is at once engaging and unique. His work displays a versatility and creative energy that is not often rivaled.


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