Concert performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera
Libretto by Paul Schott (Julius and Erich Wolfgang Korngold) based on Georges Rodenbach’s novel “Bruges-la-morte”
World premiere on December 4, 1920 simultaneously in Hamburg State Opera and Cologne Opera
November 14, 2019 in the Pärnu Concert House
November 17, 2019 in the Estonia Concert Hall
When “Die tote Stadt” premiered, Erich Wolfgang Korngold was only 23. Mahler called him a genius at the age of 10 after hearing him play, while Puccini was a fan of the Brno-born prodigy too, saying “He has so much talent he could easily give half away – and still have enough left for himself.”
“Die tote Stadt” is Korngold’s first full-length stage-work and it gained immediate international recognition. The emotionally gripping operatic psycho-thriller tells about the difficulty of letting go and about the necessity to let go. Korngold’s score, resembling Puccini and Richard Strauss, is lyrical and theatrically vivid and takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride to the dark side of a man’s psyche.
After the death of his wife Marie, Paul is obsessed with her memory. Secluded from the rest of the world, he devotes himself to preserving the purity of her memory, until one day he meets a dancer Marietta, who is a spitting image of Marie. Paul entangles himself more and more with the obsession of his love, until he inevitably reaches a catastrophe. Was it all a dream? A trick of the subconscious? What secret lies behind the death of his dear wife?
For a time, Korngold was the most performed composer in German theatres besides Richard Strauss, until the Nazis abruptly ended his career. Only a few know, that Korngold was also a prolific film composer, whose work for Hollywood brought him wide recognition.
The American Film Institute even ranked his score for “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) as the 11th greatest film score of all time. In recent years, his works have again appeared on the playbills of world theatres.