Chamber opera in 3 scenes
Fridtjof Nansen (Baritone): Leader & mastermind of the polar expedition, a tall, athletic Norwegian man. 32 years old.
Hjalmar Johansen (Tenor): 26 years old, Norwegian sportsman, an expert skier and sledge runner, a member of the Fram’s crew.
piano doubling on electric keyboard
1 percussionist: vibraphone, finger cymbals, suspended cymbal, glass wind chimes,
thundersheet, bass drum
In 1893, Fritdjof Nansen, along with a crew of twelve and five years of provisions, set sail aboard the Fram with a plan most of his fellow explorers thought foolish: to freeze the ship into the pack ice and let the east-west currents of the Arctic ocean carry them to the North Pole. White Horizon tells the story of the expedition from the perspective of Nansen and fellow shipmate Hjalmar Johansen, and attempts to capture the hopes, fears, triumphs, and frustrations they experienced along the way. The third character in the opera is the ice itself, represented by musical motifs, particularly in the percussion, piano, and keyboard. The explorers’ interactions with the ice as both a companion and an adversary mirror humankind’s restless relationship with the natural world.