SALOME

3. 11. 2016
by darjin01
Salome, Op. 54, is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Strauss dedicated the opera to his friend Sir Edgar Speyer.  The opera is famous (at the time of its premiere, infamous) for its “Dance of the Seven Veils”. The final scene is frequently heard as a concert-piece for dramatic sopranos. The combination of the Christian biblical theme, the erotic and the murderous, which so attracted Wilde to the tale, shocked opera audiences from its first appearance. Some of the original performers were very reluctant to handle the material as written and the Salome, Marie Wittich, “refused to perform the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils'”, thus creating a situation where a dancer stood in for her. This precedent has been largely followed, one early notable exception being that of Aino Ackté, whom Strauss himself dubbed “the one and only Salome”. It was first performed at the Hofoper in Dresden on 9 December 1905, and within two years, it had been given in 50 other opera houses. Gustav Mahler could not gain the consent of the Vienna censor to have […]
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THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

2. 11. 2016
by darjin01
La folle journée ou le mariage de Figaro (1784) is an outstanding literary material, conceived by the master Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732–1799), which was a genuine dynamite for the ruling regime of its time as well. Not only was Beaumarchais the first writer to become rich thanks to a successful literary work, but he also turned its theatre premiere into an extraordinarily memorable event, attracting large number of audiences. Figaro grew into a harbinger of the impending social changes, which later resulted in what was referred to as the French Revolution, so that eventually even Napoleon himself described this work as a »revolution in action«. At that time the performances, based on such literary materials, were strictly forbidden, although they were allowed to be published by the Emperor. This is how Lorenzo da Ponte (1749–1838), the librettist of the opera, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), was granted a permission to its creation as long as it did not contain anything that could damage the reputation of the theatre, operating under the patronage of his Majesty. Luckily enough, Mozart, who had no political interests, was rather than by its related content note more attracted by its perfected story […]
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Othello

2. 11. 2016
by darjin01
Verdi was enraptured with the playwright William Shakespeare, whom he considered »an authority in the field of human heart«, from the earliest stages of his creating. He composed Macbeth, where he found himself trapped by his lack of composing experience, created a rather remarkable opera Falstaff and also dreamt of writing music for Hamlet and King Lear, which unfortunately remained undone. Sixteen years after Aida and the making of his Requiem, he and his librettist Boito conceived together one of the greatest masterpieces, considered by wild consensus of musical connoisseurs as one of the most beautiful operas of all times. The reform of the opera, thoroughly perfected by Wagner, deeply influenced Verdi as well, who was thus guided by its much needed refinement at the time, when he was working on Othello. Thus devised within the synergy between Shakespeare, Boito and Verdi was a typical music drama, which was already warmly acclaimed by the audience at its premiere on 5th February 1887. In comparison to Aida, Verdi’s art in Othello was even more profound and thrifty in the sense of the means he used, as well as more sophisticated and richer in its musical essence.   In the year when […]
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