LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  October 2008

CLASSICAL October 2008

Subject:

"The Dead City" Is Vibrantly Alive by the Bay

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 3 Oct 2008 17:03:41 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (76 lines)

Eighty-eight years after its sensational premiere in Germany, Erich
Korngold's "Die Tote Stadt" (The Dead City) arrived at the San Francisco
Opera Tuesday night in a production for which few adjectives seem adequate,
but we'll go with "splendid."

In the history of ultra-romantic music, Korngold's work falls in the
long line peaking with Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg (of the
turn-of-the-century "Gurrelieder), employed successfully by Puccini, and
eventually exploited and abused by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  "Die Tote Stadt"
is all sweet sounds, each phrase resolving in a major key, the ebb and
flow of a beating heart, divine schlock - and something different,
something more.

A future Hollywood soundtrack king, Korngold started writing this opera
when he was 20, and the work seems to explode continuously with youthful
genius, constant tempo changes, pitching impossibly difficult vocal lines
against a 75-piece orchestra in frequent spasms of ecstasy.  It's all
terribly difficult to do, and supremely rewarding to hear...  when done
well.

The work enormously popular at first, then virtually disappeared from
the scene, only to be revived again long after the composer's death in
1957.  In the U.S.  the New York City Opera led the way, with the 1975
Frank Corsaro production, featuring Carol Neblett and John Alexander.
(The American premiere took place in 1921 at the Met, with Maria Jeritza
as Marie/Marietta, shortly after the unprecedented double world premiere
in 1920 in Hamburg and Cologne.)

Under Donald Runnicles' baton and with a sterling cast, the premiere
went better than well, creating a grand, memorable night at the opera.

The story of a man's agony - and eventual triumph over grief - in the
"Dead City" of Bruges is told in two, frequently interacting, realms.
Paul (sung heroically and gloriously by Torsten Kerl in his San Francisco
debut) is unable to overcome the death of his wife, Marie, and when he
meets a woman who looks like Marie, his struggle to choose between the
living and the dead, the imperfect and the idealized, takes place in his
grim reality and in increasingly disturbing dreams.  Emily Magee, also
in her debut here, took the dual role of Marie/Marietta and sang through
an astonishing range from coquettish to heroic, from Musetta of "La
Boheme" to Wagner's Brunnhilde.

Former Adler Fellow Lucas Meachem returned to the house victoriously
in the double role of Frank and Fritz, in great voice and with a
self-confident performance, singing with effective restraint one of the
opera's big hits (which persisted through the years of neglect for the
whole work), "Pierrots Tanzlied." Current Adler Fellows Katharine Tier
(Brigitta), Ji Young Yang (Juliette), Daniela Mack (Lucienne), Alek
Shrader (Victorin), and Andrew Bidlack (Albert) have all done well,
especially Tier, in an important role.

The Willy Decker production, a hit in Vienna and Salzburg (also
conducted by Runnicles there), is being staged in San Francisco by
Meisje Hummel, and except for a runaway wig here, a creaking set unit
there, it all went swimmingly.  Wolfgang Gussmann's production design
is grandly operatic, with walls and ceilings moving in time with the
shift of action between the real and the dream worlds.  Ian Robertson's
Opera Chorus acted and sang on the wings of fabulous harmonies rising
from the orchestra pit.

It was puzzling to see a significant number of patrons departing in
the intermission, probably due to the length of the first act (nearly
an hour and a half); they missed a short (40-minute) and gorgeous second
act, at the end of which instead of being sated, the listener would like
to hear more.  For every audience member leaving early, I'll wager on
two or three who will return to another performance.

Janos Gereben
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

             ***********************************************
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.  For more information,
go to:  http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager