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Eine florentinische Tragödie

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Conductor: Patrick Hahn
Münchner Rundfunkorchester

Guido Bardi, the son of the Duke of Florence, kneels before Bianca, the wife of the rich merchant Simone, and holds her hands. Simone enters the room, having returned early from a business trip. – The very beginning of Alexander Zemlinsky’s one-act opera based on Oscar Wilde’s A Florentine Tragedy in the German translation by Max Meyerfeld shows the conflict from which the tragedy arises. The stage work by the Austrian composer, who was forgotten for many decades, had its world premiere on 30 January 1917 in Stuttgart and was not performed again until 1977. This BR-KLASSIK CD documents the Munich premiere with the Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Patrick Hahn, which was recorded live in the Prinzregententheater on 27 November 2022.

With “Eine florentinische Tragödie”, Zemlinsky leaned comparatively late, but by no means out of time, on the Renaissance and one-act fashions of the turn of the century. Richard Strauss had made his mark in this form with Salome and Elektra, with Oscar Wilde as the author of the literary model for Salome. Zemlinsky seems to take the comparison with Strauss head-on from the very first notes. An “upbeat fanfare” provides the prelude to an orchestral introduction that can easily be interpreted as a musical depiction of the love game. During the transition to the action on stage, Zemlinsky switches to a sombre minor-key atmosphere. With Simone’s appearance – as the music suggests – it is already clear that the plot cannot end in anything other than tragedy. It is only unclear for whom…

In the Munich premiere of Zemlinsky’s Eine florentinische Tragödie, Rachael Wilson (mezzo-soprano) interpreted Bianca, Benjamin Bruns (tenor) Prince Guido Bardi and Christopher Maltman (baritone) the merchant Simone.

Album Info

Release date: April 19, 2024
Label: BR-Klassik

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