Pages in category "Music dramas"
The following 21 pages are in this category, out of 21 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 21 pages are in this category, out of 21 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Music drama – A Gesamtkunstwerk is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so. The term is a German word which has come to be accepted in English as a term in aesthetics, the term was first used by the German writer and philosopher K. F. E. Trahndorff in an essay in 1827. The German opera composer Richard Wagner used the term in two 1849 essays, and the word has become associated with his aesthetic ideals. It is unclear whether Wagner knew of Trahndorffs essay, in the twentieth century, some writers applied the term to some forms of architecture, while others have applied it to film and mass media. Some elements of opera reform, seeking a more classical formula, had begun at the end of the 18th century and this movement, reform opera is primarily associated with Christoph Willibald Gluck and Ranieri de Calzabigi. Others who wrote on syntheses of the arts included Gottfried Lessing, Ludwig Tieck, carl Maria von Webers enthusiastic review of E. T. A. He also used in these essays many similar such as the consummate artwork of the future and the integrated drama. Such a work of art was to be the clearest and most profound expression of folk legend, Wagner felt that the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus had been the finest examples so far of total artistic synthesis, but that this synthesis had subsequently been corrupted by Euripides. Wagner felt that during the rest of history up to the present day the arts had drifted further and further apart. Wagner felt that such works celebrated bravura singing, sensational stage effects, in Art and Revolution Wagner applies the term Gesamtkunstwerk in the context of Greek tragedy. In The Art-Work of the Future he uses it to apply to his own, as yet unrealised, ideal. In his extensive book Opera and Drama he takes these ideas further, describing in detail his idea of the union of opera and drama, in which the individual arts are subordinated to a common purpose. It has been argued by historian Robert L. Delevoy that Art Nouveau represented an essentially decorative trend that thus lent itself to the idea of the architectural Gesamtkunstwerk. But it is possible it was born from social theories that arose out of a fear of the rise of industrialism. However evidence of complete interiors that typify the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk can be some time before the 1890s. There was a trend amongst architects in the 18th and 19th centuries to control every facet of an architectural commission. As well as being responsible for just the structure they tried to extend their role to include designing every aspect of the work as well. This included not only the architectural features but was extended to the design of furniture, carpets, wallpaper, fabrics
2. The Accacha Chronicles – The Accacha Chronicles is an operatic trilogy by Nicholas Lens for soprano, tenor, countertenor, mezzo, baritone, bass male actor, small choir, mixed choir and chamber orchestra. Lens publication of The Accacha Chronicles earned him international acclaim and it may be Lens most important and famous work. They become fascinated by their actions and reaction, and begin to imitate them in order to understand them, the first part captures the western concept of a requiem while at the same time abandoning the traditional rich chords and free, rubato meter of a cathedral work. The lyrics of the first part Flamma Flamma, all in Latin were written by the author Herman Portocarero, the lyrics of the two other parts were written by Lens himself. In 2005 Lens recently rewrote an operatic version of The Accacha Chronicles of about 5 hours and 20 minutes which is very different -more complex in rhythm. This version was published in 2006 by Schott Music International but did not premiere yet, Lens has said that he intended The Accacha Chronicles to be a philosophical work, detailing a storyline along with its themes. Accacha, Lens says in an interview, is a name, half-invented. It stands for a book in which gods can find intimate details of all lives of human mortals. I used it because it is in a way reflecting what the characters in this piece. And I like the sound of the word, about the story, A bunch of eccentric gods decide to visit earth, in total 3 times. Their visit has no character, except maybe that they’re always in for some funny entertainment or distraction. And apparently the gods seem to be fascinated by the mortals and their behaviour, especially by their reactions on dramatic events like death, birth and love. So they imitate the mortals trying to feel what it is like to be confronted with typically human shortcomings or moods, with human sadness or joy, with human loss. The natural wheel of life must obviously fascinate the gods, as everything which is limited in time much more intensive. Nicholas Lens dedicated the entire trilogy to a certain lady Simona Noorenbergh from Fane, lady Simona Noorenbergh was a grandaunt of Nicholas Lens, living all her life in Papua New Guinea. She was one of the founders of the mountain village called Fane deep in the Papuan jungle. Once totally unexpectedly, the time to bury her after she crashed with a Norman Islander-plane against the top of a mountain of the Papuan Central Province during a typhoon. Lens was very shocked by this event
3. Elektra (opera) – Elektra, Op.58, is a one-act opera by Richard Strauss, to a German-language libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, which he adapted from his 1903 drama Elektra. The opera was the first of many collaborations between Strauss and Hofmannsthal and it was first performed at the Dresden State Opera on 25 January 1909. It was dedicated to his friends Natalie and Willy Levin, while based on ancient Greek mythology, the opera is highly modernist and expressionist. The other characters are Klytaemnestra, her mother and one of the murderers of her father Agamemnon, her sister, Chrysothemis, her brother, Orestes, various aspects from the myth are minimized as background to Elektras character and her obsession. These changes tightened the focus on Elektras furious lust for revenge, the result is a very modern, expressionistic retelling of the ancient Greek myth. Compared to Sophocless Electra, the opera presents raw, brutal, violent, ståle Wikshåland has analysed the use of time and temporality in the dramaturgy of Elektra. Elektra is the second of Strausss two highly modernist operas, characterized by cacophonous sections and atonal leitmotifs and these works highly contrasts with his earliest operas and his later period. The reception of Elektra in German-speaking countries was mostly divided amongst traditionalist and modernist lines, Elektra is one of the most frequently performed operas based on classical Greek mythology. Elektra received its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1910 with Edyth Walker in the title role, before the opera begins, Agamemnon has sacrificed Iphigenia on the ruse that she is to be married, and subsequently goes off to war against Troy. Iphigenias mother Klytaemnestra has thus come to hate her husband, Elektra has managed to send her brother away while remaining behind to keep her fathers memory alive, but all the while, suffering the scorn of her mother and the entire court. Five servants try to wash the courtyard of the Palace in Mycenae, while they do their work, they ask where can Elektra be, and she emerges from the shadows with a wild look on her face. The servants continue commenting how she came to be in that state, only one servant shows mercy for her, but she is taken away by the overseer to be flogged. Elektra comes back for her daily ritual in memory of her father, Elektra now starts imagining the day when her father will be avenged and then of the ensuing celebration in which she will lead the triumphal dance. She warns her sister that their plans to lock Elektra in a tower. Chrysothemis does not wish to go on living a half-death in her own house, she wants to leave, marry, as loud sounds are heard inside, Elektra mocks her sister that it is her wedding party. In reality, Klytaemnestra has yet again been awakened by her own nightmares of being killed by Orest, Chrysothemis begs Elektra to leave, wishing only to speak to her mother. Followed by her retinue, Klytaemnestra comes to make sacrifice to appease the gods. She asks the gods for the reason for her burdens, despite the protests of the Trainbearer and Confidante, Klytaemnestra climbs down to talk to Elektra
4. Feuersnot – Feuersnot, Op.50, is a Singgedicht or opera in one act by Richard Strauss. The German libretto was written by Ernst von Wolzogen, based on J. Ketels report Das erloschene Feuer zu Audenaerde, thematically, the opera has been interpreted as a parody of Richard Wagners idea of redemption through love, with the character of Kunrad representing Strauss himself. The conceptual framework for the stems from the Nietzschean perspective that had inspired Strauss in his tone poems Till Eulenspiegel. Strauss and von Wolzogen shared the view that the source of inspiration was material not transcendental, the librettist for the opera was Ernst von Wolzogen, who in 1901 founded the Überbrettl venue, the start of the German Kabarett movement which was later to blossom in the Weimar Republic. The mood matched Strausss desire for something irreverent and cynical, with much word-play, what struck the contemporary audiences most was the bawdiness and innuendo. There was much pressure on the composer to tone it down, but Strauss, at this time, the sexual and erotic subtexts and psychology were disturbing to audiences, as well as the perceived advanced nature of the music itself to more conservative-minded musicians. The premiere at the Dresden Court Opera on 21 November 1901 was a success, Gustav and Alma Mahler attended. The success in Dresden led to Feuersnot being staged in theaters across Germany. Mounting the opera in Vienna proved more problematic for Gustav Mahler because of the need to satisfy the uncooperative censor, I fear you may have to accept changes. Alas, there is no placating these powers”. The Viennese premiere finally took place on 29 January 1902 with Strauss attending and he wrote to Mahler to send you my heartfelt thanks for the incomparably beautiful rendition you gave of my work last week…. The Viennese public and critics were less enthusiastic than the German, Mahler wrote to Strauss on the 18 February I am so disgusted at the attitude of the Viennese press, and most of all by the publics total acquiescence to them, that I cannot get over it. He took the work off after four disappointing turn-outs, although he did put on one performance that year on 14 March. Strauss took the opera to Berlin where it was more of a success with seven performances, however, the Empress took a dislike to the bawdiness and Emperor Wilhelm had the opera banned. Strauss continued to include the music from the scene in his orchestral concerts. The opera was revived twice at Vienna, first in 1905 by Mahler with a new production running for 7 performances, Strauss wrote towards the end of his life …in nearly all of the biographical articles I read I miss the correct attitude towards Feuersnot. One forgets that this far from perfect work still introduces into the nature of the old opera a new subjective style at just the very beginning of the century. It is in its way a sort of upbeat, the Zürich premiere did not take place until 1953. The New York City premiere took place in 1985, at the Manhattan School of Music and it was presented by The Santa Fe Opera during its summer 1988 festival season
5. Flamma Flamma – Flamma Flamma – The Fire Requiem is a music drama by Nicholas Lens. It is the first part of the operatic trilogy The Accacha Chronicles, the work was artistically and financially produced by the composer himself and gained international fame when Sony Classical bought the rights in 1994 for worldwide distribution. The American actor Frank Sheppard performed the part of the Gédé at the first creation of Flamma Flamma in an abbey in Mechelen. In 1998 Flamma Flamma was created with 2,000 participants for an audience of 30,000 people in Adelaide, Australia at the opening night of the Adelaide Festival of Arts at Elder Park. FLamma fLamma is the title of a film based on the titletrack of Flamma Flamma by N. Lens, directed by Jan Bultheel. The film was shown on MTV and Arte and it was the first time Sony Classical had a music track of one of his artists playing on the popular MTV-channel. Today, the video for Flamma Flamma still gets airplay on MTV Europeans late night eclectic show Chill Out Zone. The score has been used a numerous times for art-firework-performances and hundreds of dance, Lens, who considers himself more a fan of severe contemporary dance and moving theatre, was not always happy with these adaptations. More than ten years after the original creation Nicholas Lens rewrote the score completely, in 1995 Sony Classical USA released an American cover version of the work. Sony Classical USA considered that the European cover, based on the labyrinth of Chartres, was too intellectual, the American cover with the doubled androgynous angel face was designed by the New York artist Amy Guip. The change of cover was criticised in the American press. de/artists2. php. artist=187779 Fan Page
6. Louis Riel (opera) – Louis Riel is an opera in three acts by the Canadian composer Harry Somers. This full-length opera was written for the 1967 Canadian centennial and it concerns the controversial Métis leader Louis Riel, who was executed in 1885, and is one of Somers biggest pieces. It is arguably the most famous Canadian opera, Somers set the music to an English and French libretto by Mavor Moore and Jacques Languirand. Louis Riel had its first performances at the OKeefe Centre in Toronto 23 and 28 September and 11 October 1967 and at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts, victor Feldbrill conducted, Leon Major directed, and Murray Laufer and Marie Day designed the sets and costumes. The original cast included Bernard Turgeon as Riel, Cornelis Opthof as Sir John A, after the premiere, Kenneth Winters described the opera in the Toronto Telegram as a pastiche. It had no ring of eternity but it was a vigorous harnessing of current and choice, wendell Margrave of the Washington Star described the opera as one of the most imaginative and powerful scores to have been written in this century. Kuyas—the lullaby sung in Act III by Riels wife to their child—was used prior to the premiere as the test piece for the Montreal International Competition in 1967. It was recorded in 1983 by Roslak on Centrediscs CMC-1183, Riel was played by Luc Lalonde, Macdonald by Michael Meraw, and Bishop Taché by John Taylor, François Racine was stage director and Alexis Hauser, music director. The revival won an Opus Award as event of the year, Louis Riel Sir John A. Macdonald Monseigneur Alexandre-Antonin Taché Riels Mother Riels Sister William McDougall Baptiste Lépine Louis Riel at The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
7. Parsifal – Parsifal is an opera in three acts by German composer Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival, Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was Wagners last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882, the Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Wagner described Parsifal not as an opera, but as Ein Bühnenweihfestspiel, at Bayreuth a tradition has arisen that there be no applause after the first act of the opera. Wagner first read von Eschenbachs poem Parzival while taking the waters at Marienbad in 1845, after encountering Arthur Schopenhauers writings in 1854, Wagner became interested in oriental philosophies, especially Buddhism. Out of this interest came Die Sieger a sketch Wagner wrote for an opera based on a story from the life of Buddha, the themes which were later explored in Parsifal of self-renouncing, reincarnation, compassion, and even exclusive social groups were first introduced in Die Sieger. The composer and his wife Minna had moved into the cottage on 28 April, full of this sentiment, I suddenly remembered that the day was Good Friday, and I called to mind the significance this omen had already once assumed for me when I was reading Wolframs Parzival. The work may indeed have been conceived at Wesendoncks cottage in the last week of April 1857, but Good Friday that year fell on 10 April, when the Wagners were still living at Zeltweg 13 in Zürich. If the prose sketch which Wagner mentions in Mein Leben was accurately dated, it could settle the issue once and for all, Wagner did not resume work on Parsifal for eight years, during which time he completed Tristan und Isolde and began Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. But once again the work was dropped and set aside for another eleven, during this time most of Wagners creative energy was devoted to the Ring cycle, which was finally completed in 1874 and given its first full performance at Bayreuth in August 1876. Only when this task had been accomplished did Wagner find the time to concentrate on Parsifal. By 23 February 1877 he had completed a second and more extensive prose draft of the work, in September 1877 he began the music by making two complete drafts of the score from beginning to end. The first of these was made in pencil on three staves, one for the voices and two for the instruments, the second complete draft was made in ink and on at least three, but sometimes as many as five, staves. This draft was more detailed than the first and contained a considerable degree of instrumental elaboration. The Gesamtentwurf of act 3 was completed on 16 April 1879, the full score was the final stage in the compositional process. It was made in ink and consisted of a copy of the entire opera, with all the voices. The prelude of act 1 was scored in August 1878, the rest of the opera was scored between August 1879 and 13 January 1882
8. Das Rheingold – Das Rheingold, WWV 86A, is the first of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagners Der Ring des Nibelungen, or in English, The Ring of the Nibelung. Das Rheingold premiered at the National Theatre Munich on 22 September 1869, with August Kindermann in the role of Wotan, Heinrich Vogl as Loge, and Karl Fischer as Alberich. Wagner wanted this work to premiere as part of the entire cycle, the work was first performed as part of the complete cycle on 13 August 1876, in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Although Das Rheingold comes first in the sequence of Ring operas, so in August 1851, Wagner wrote in Eine Mittheilung an meine Freunde, I propose to produce my myth in three complete dramas. However, by October, he had decided that this required a prelude. To the sentence quoted above he added the words, which will be preceded by a great prelude, a letter Wagner wrote to Theodor Uhlig confirms that at this time the opera was intended to have three acts. Wagner continued to develop the text and storyline of the prelude in parallel with those of Die Walküre, the prose draft of Das Rheingold was completed between 21 March and 23 March 1852 and its verse draft between 15 September and 3 November. A fair copy of the text was finished by 15 December, during the early years of the 1850s Wagner produced some musical sketches for parts of the Ring and noted down various motifs that were to be used in the work. There also exist three sets of isolated musical sketches for Das Rheingold which were composed between 15 September 1852 and November 1853. The first of these was entered into the draft of the text, the second into Wagners copy of the 1853 printing of the text. All three were used by Wagner. Proper sequential development of the score started on 1 November 1853, by 14 January, Wagner had completed the first draft of the opera on between two and three staves. The next stage involved the development of a detailed draft that indicated most of the vocal and instrumental details. This was completed by 28 May, in parallel with this, Wagner started work on a fair copy of the score on 15 February, a task he completed on 26 September 1854, by which time he had also started work on the sketches of Die Walküre. Das Rheingold was first performed at Munich on 22 September 1869 and its first performance as part of the complete Ring cycle took place at Bayreuth on 13 August 1876. It continues to be performed on a regular basis both in Bayreuth and elsewhere, Das Rheingold, considerably shorter than its three successors, consists of four scenes performed without a break. It has been noted as one of the best-known drone examples in the concert repertory, the curtain rises to show, at the bottom of the Rhine, the three Rhine maidens, Woglinde, Wellgunde, and Flosshilde, playing together. The key shifts to A flat as Woglinde begins an innocent song whose melody is used to characterise the Rhine maidens later in the cycle
9. Der Ring des Nibelungen – Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV86, is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner. The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas, the composer termed the cycle a Bühnenfestspiel, structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend. It is often referred to as the Ring Cycle, Wagners Ring, Wagner wrote the libretto and music over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874. The first performance as an opened the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876, beginning with Das Rheingold on 13 August. Wagners title is most literally rendered in English as The Ring of the Nibelung, the Nibelung of the title is the dwarf Alberich, and the ring in question is the one he fashions from the Rhine Gold. The title therefore denotes Alberichs Ring, Nibelungen is occasionally mistaken as a plural, but the Ring of the Nibelungs is incorrect. The cycle is a work of extraordinary scale, the first and shortest work, Das Rheingold, typically lasts two and a half hours, while the final and longest, Götterdämmerung, takes up to five hours, excluding intervals. The cycle is modelled after ancient Greek dramas that were presented as three tragedies and one satyr play, the Ring proper begins with Die Walküre and ends with Götterdämmerung, with Rheingold as a prelude. Wagner called Das Rheingold a Vorabend or Preliminary Evening, and Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung were subtitled First Day, Second Day and Third Day, respectively, the scale and scope of the story is epic. It follows the struggles of gods, heroes, and several mythical creatures over the magic ring that grants domination over the entire world. The drama and intrigue continue through three generations of protagonists, until the final cataclysm at the end of Götterdämmerung, the music of the cycle is thick and richly textured, and grows in complexity as the cycle proceeds. Wagner wrote for an orchestra of gargantuan proportions, including a greatly enlarged brass section with new instruments such as the Wagner tuba, bass trumpet and contrabass trombone. Remarkably, he uses a chorus only relatively briefly, in acts 2 and 3 of Götterdämmerung and he eventually had a purpose-built theatre constructed, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, in which to perform this work. The theatre has a stage that blends the huge orchestra with the singers voices. The result was that the singers did not have to strain themselves vocally during the long performances. The plot revolves around a ring that grants the power to rule the world. Wotans schemes to regain the ring, spanning generations, drive much of the action in the story, Hagen is drowned as he attempts to recover the ring. In the process, the gods and Valhalla are destroyed, details of the storylines can be found in the articles on each music drama
10. Siegfried (opera) – Siegfried, WWV 86C, is the third of the four music dramas that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen, by Richard Wagner. It premiered at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 16 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of The Ring cycle, the musical composition was commenced in 1856, but not finally completed until 1871. Having grappled with his text for Siegfrieds Tod, and indeed having undertaken some musical sketches for it during 1851, at this point he conceived that the prefatory opera, Der junge Siegfried, could act as a comic foil to the tragedy of Siegfrieds Tod. Its all growing out of the ground as if it were wild, shortly afterwards he wrote to Uhlig that he was now planning to tell the Siegfried story in the form of three dramas, plus a prologue in three acts—a clear prefiguring of the Ring cycle. The composition of Acts 1 and 2 was completed by August 1857, Wagner then left off work on Siegfried to write the operas Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger. He did not resume work on Siegfried until 1869, when he composed the third act, the final revision of the score was undertaken in February 1871. Performance was withheld until the first complete production of the Ring cycle, elements of the plot of Siegfried come from a variety of sources. In a letter to Uhlig, Wagner recounted The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was and it concerns a boy so stupid he had never learned to be afraid. Wagner wrote that the boy and Siegfried are the same character, the boy is taught to fear by his wife, and Siegfried learns it when he discovers the sleeping Brünnhilde. Siegfrieds ability in Act Two to see through Mimes deceitful words seems to have derived from a 19th-century street theatre version of the story of Faust. Some elements of the story are derived from legends of Sigurd, notably the Völsunga saga, scene 1 of Act 3 has a parallel in the Eddic poem Baldrs draumar, in which Odin questions a völva about the future of the gods. A cave in rocks in the forest, as the curtain rises, Alberichs brother, the dwarf Mime, is forging a sword. Mime is plotting to obtain the ring of power created by his brother Alberich. Mime needs a sword for Siegfried to use, but the youth has contemptuously broken every sword Mime has made, Siegfried returns from his wanderings in the forest with a wild bear in tow, and immediately breaks the new sword. Mime is forced to explain how he took in Siegfrieds mother, Sieglinde and he shows Siegfried the broken pieces of the sword Nothung, which Mime had obtained from her. Siegfried orders him to reforge the sword, Mime, however, is unable to accomplish this, Siegfried departs, leaving Mime in despair. An old man arrives at the door and introduces himself as the Wanderer, in return for the hospitality due a guest, he wagers his head on answering any three questions of Mime. The dwarf asks the Wanderer to name the races that live beneath the ground, on the earth and these are the Nibelung, the Giants, and the Gods, as the Wanderer answers correctly
11. Terra Terra – Terra Terra – The Aquarius Era is a music drama by Nicholas Lens. It is the part of the operatic trilogy The Accacha Chronicles. In 12 sections, the score combines orchestra, chorus and six operatic voices that contrast with the eerie tonalities of two female nasal-natural singers, the cover of Terra Terra shows a vague image of Lens daughter Clara-Lane as foetus. Terra Terra - The Aquarius Era premiered live on 30 October 1999 at the Musikhalle Hamburg in Germany, the newly published score of Terra Terra, did not premiere yet. A video film entitled Anima Superba was directed by Isabelle Desprechins, the film was shot around the Ganges river in India showing original footage of death and birth rituals
12. Tristan und Isolde – Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Strassburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered at the Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting. Wagner referred to the not as an opera, but called it eine Handlung. Wagners composition of Tristan und Isolde was inspired by the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, widely acknowledged as one of the peaks of the operatic repertoire, Tristan was notable for Wagners unprecedented use of chromaticism, tonality, orchestral colour and harmonic suspension. Other composers like Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky formulated their styles in contrast to Wagners musical legacy. Many see Tristan as the beginning of the move away from common practice harmony and tonality, both Wagners libretto style and music were also profoundly influential on the Symbolist poets of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Wagner was forced to abandon his position as conductor of the Dresden Opera in 1849 and he left his wife, Minna, in Dresden, and fled to Zürich. There, in 1852, he met the wealthy silk trader Otto Wesendonck, Wesendonck became a supporter of Wagner and bankrolled the composer for several years. Wesendoncks wife, Mathilde, became enamoured of the composer, though Wagner was working on his epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, he found himself intrigued by the legend of Tristan and Iseult. The story of Tristan and Isolde is a romance of the Middle Ages. Several versions of the story exist, the earliest dating to the middle of the 12th century, gottfrieds version, part of the courtly branch of the legend, had a huge influence on later German literature. It was some such mood that inspired the conception of a Tristan und Isolde. I have devised in my mind a Tristan und Isolde, the simplest, yet most full-blooded musical conception imaginable, by the end of 1854, Wagner had sketched out all three acts of an opera on the Tristan theme, based on Gottfried von Strassburgs telling of the story. On 20 August he began the prose sketch for the opera, Wagner, at this time, had moved into a cottage built in the grounds of Wesendoncks villa, where, during his work on Tristan und Isolde, he became passionately involved with Mathilde Wesendonck. Whether or not this relationship was platonic remains uncertain, one evening in September of that year, Wagner read the finished poem of Tristan to an audience including his wife, Minna, his current muse, Mathilde, and his future mistress, Cosima von Bülow. By October 1857, Wagner had begun the composition sketch of the first Act, during November, however, he set five of Mathildes poems to music known today as the Wesendonck Lieder. This was a move by Wagner, who almost never set to music poetic texts other than his own. But Wagner resolved to write Tristan only after he had secured a deal with the Leipzig-based firm Breitkopf & Härtel
13. Wozzeck – Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg. It was composed between 1914 and 1922 and first performed in 1925, the opera is based on the drama Woyzeck, which was left incomplete by the German playwright Georg Büchner at his death. Berg attended the first production in Vienna of Büchners play on 5 May 1914, from the fragments of unordered scenes left by Büchner, Berg selected fifteen to form a compact structure of three acts with five scenes each. He adapted the libretto himself, retaining the character of the play, with its many short scenes, its abrupt and sometimes brutal language. The plot depicts the life of soldiers and the townspeople of a rural German-speaking town. Prominent themes of militarism, callousness, social exploitation, and a casual sadism are brutally and uncompromisingly presented, toward the end of act 1, scene 2, the title character murmurs, Still, all is still, as if the world died. With his fellow soldier Andres uttering, Night, seemingly oblivious to Wozzecks previous words. The dialogue is concluded and a funeral march begins, only to transform into the song of the military marching band in the next scene. Musicologist Glenn Watkins considers this, as vivid a projection of impending doom as any to come out of the Great War. Bergs experience of the war had a impact on the compositional direction of Wozzeck. His correspondence and notebooks dating from the war years reveal a painful obsession with completing Wozzeck, in a draft page of the act 1, scene 2 libretto, Berg included notations in the dialogue that refer to Austrian army bugle calls. These military signals were later inserted into the score in a modified slightly atonal form, the scene of snoring soldiers in the barracks during act 2, scene 5 was influenced by Bergs similar such experience. This polyphonic breathing, gasping, and groaning is the most peculiar chorus Ive ever heard and it is like some primeval music that wells up from the abysses of the soul. In 1916, however, he devoted himself to attaining the rank of Einjährig-Freiwillige Korporal, during this period, as Berg wrote to his wife, For months I havent done any work on Wozzeck. Finishing act 1 by the summer of 1919, act 2 in August 1921, for the climactic section, Berg used one of his old student pieces in D minor. A typical performance of the work takes slightly over an hour, erich Kleiber, who programmed on his own initiative, conducted the world premiere at the Berlin State Opera on 14 December 1925. He spent a deal of his time through the 1920s and 30s travelling to attend performances. The American premiere of the opera was given by the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company on 19 March 1931 at the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House with Leopold Stokowski conducting