PUBLISHED: 4:09 PM on Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Hakenberg opera premiers in Germany
Juneau resident and German American composer Stefan Hakenberg is making waves in the German press for having written the first opera about climate change, "The Egg-Musher."

The work premiered July 12, at the AUDI summer concert series in Ingolstadt, Germany. Hakenberg received a grant from the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, which helped him to travel to Germany and work on his opera.

Hakenberg is a founder of the local contemporary music organization, CrossSound.

The opera is in two acts.

The first act takes place in Dawson City at the height of the Gold Rush and tells the story of the last "egg musher" (based on Jack London's story The One Thousand Dozen) who brought eggs by ship and dog sled from San Francisco to Dawson City to sell them there for gold.

Eggs were a part of the miners' breakfast culture; however, chickens could not be kept in the Klondike because of the cold. The second act is set in the year 2050. The newly elected Mayor of Dawson reveals a monument to the last Egg-Musher.

Climate change has progressed, and the natural gas pipeline that runs through Alaska and Canada now serves to bring water from the melting glaciers to the south of the United States where there is a water shortage.

UAS's inclusion of an arts component in their 2006 Pacific Rim Forum on "Energy and Environment," for which they invited director and writer Michael Kerstan and Hakenberg, helped give shape to early drafts of the libretto and Hakenberg's thinking about climate change.

The opera will be performed in Germany by the ensemble company El Cimarrón, who are currently scheduled to perform in Juneau in the spring.

The performance will be presented by CrossSound with help from the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council.