Of all the successful composers of opera in the 1920s, it is perhaps Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957) whose career took the most surprising turn following the banning of his works as “degenerate” in Germany. In 1934 he was invited by Max Reinhardt to Hollywood, where Korngold turned the new genre of fi m music on its head. No composer before or since ever achieved such a prominent position within film production. Instead of the director or producer deciding on a scene’s musical accompaniment, it was Korngold’s score that determined the timings and dramatic sequences of the camera positions.
Even today Korngold is best known as a composer of film scores. Despite the many successful performances of works such as his violin concerto and his chamber music, today only Die tote Stadt has survived as a rarity on the programmes of the world’s major and medium-sized opera houses. Götz Friedrich’s production played no small part in this survival, for not only was it shown in Berlin and Vienna, it was also shipped to Los Angeles and more recently, in 1995, loaned to Ghent, to the theatre which in 1967 was bold enough to stage only the second production of the work after the Second World War.
Sound Format: PCM Stereo
Picture Format: 4:3
DVD Format: DVD 9, NTSC
Subtitles: DE (Original Language), GB, IT, FR, ES
Running Time: 130 mins
“Götz Freidrich's powerful staging of Korngold's fantasy is performed with sumptuousness, led by Armstrong's Marietta (unsteady) and King's Paul (solid).”
24th November 2012
“[Götz Friedrich’s] richly atmospheric production...makes a strong case for the piece. James King is a believable Paul, and Friedrich, seated at his office desk, gives a lucid spoken introduction to an opera that permanently hovers on the border between dream and reality.”
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