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Work of the Week – Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violanta

On 21 January 2020, Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera Violanta will be performed for the first time in Italy. The production will take place at the Tearto Regio, Torino conducted by Pinchas Steinberg.

The opera in one act was finished in 1915 when Korngold was only 17 and was first performed to a private audience. Among the guests to the first performance was the artistic director of the Hoftgeater in Munich, Clemens von Franckenstein, who subsequently arranged for Violanta to be performed publicly the following year.

Hans Müller-Einigen wrote the libretto for the opera, which takes place in Venice during the fifteenth century. Set during carnival, Simone Trovai, a military commander of the Venetian Republic calls his soldiers to order and asks his maids to search for his wife, Violanta, who is not attending the carnival celebrations…

 Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Violanta: Carnival in Venice

The relationship between love and death, a central theme of the opera, is expressed in a carnival song that can be heard throughout the entire work. While the song sounds lively and cheerful when sung by the festive crowd its tone is as equally threatening when performed by Violanta.

Music is music whether composed for the stage, the conductor’s desk or for the cinema. The form can change and the method of notation can be different, but the composer cannot make any compromises in what he considers to be his musical convictions. – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Following the first performance, Violanta will be performed on 23, 25, 26, and 28 January. Additionally, in April two productions of Korngold’s Die tote Stadt are set to open in Schwerin and Ostrava.