Gezeichneten (Schreker)  (Zillig;  Stewart, Lear, Krebs, Crass, Wiemann, Katona, von Ilosvay)  (3-Walhall 0376)
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Gezeichneten (Schreker)  (Zillig;  Stewart, Lear, Krebs, Crass, Wiemann, Katona, von Ilosvay)  (3-Walhall 0376)
OP2850. DIE GEZEICHNETEN (Schreker), Live Performance, 1960, w.Zillig Cond. NDR Ensemble; Thomas Stewart, Evelyn Lear, Helmut Krebs, Franz Crass, Ernst Wiemann, Julius Katona, Maria von Ilosvay, etc. [Tender intimacies and unsettling revelations, of veiled allusions and naked truths – and all couched in music of a supple lyric beauty that has few equals in operatic literature.] (E.U.) 3-Walhall 0376. - 4035122653762

CRITIC REVIEWS:

“DIE GEZEICHNETEN (The Branded or The Stigmatized) is an opera in three acts by Franz Schreker, libretto by the composer. An expanded concert-version of the overture to the opera was performed at the Vienna Musikverein on 8 February 1914 by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Felix Weingartner. The complete opera was first performed on 25 April 1918 by the Frankfurt Opera in the Alte Oper, conducted by Ludwig Rottenberg. It established Schreker as the pre-eminent opera composer of his generation and won him the support of Germany's foremost music critic, Paul Bekker. Before the composer's music was banned in 1933 due to his Jewish ancestry, a further two dozen productions followed in fifteen different cities in Germany and Austria. The playbill of the first performance in Vienna (January 1920) mentions 66 previous performances of the opera in five different opera houses (Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Dresden and Breslau).

Conductor Michael Gielen revived the opera at the Oper Frankfurt in 1979. A major staging took place at the Salzburg Festival in 2005 directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff and conducted by Kent Nagano with Robert Brubaker (Alviano) and Anne Schwanewilms (Carlotta) in the leading roles, though the opera was heavily cut for this production. The American premiere was staged at the Los Angeles Opera on 10 April 2010, followed by three more performances. James Conlon conducted and Robert Brubaker (Salviago), Anja Kampe (Carlotta) and Martin Gantner (Tamare) sang the principal roles. This event was hailed by critics as the first ever performance of a Schreker opera in the Western Hemisphere. Also, in April 2010 it was performed six times at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo in a production by Graham Vick.”



“Schreker was born in Monaco, the eldest son of the Bohemian Jewish court photographer Ignaz Schrecker and his wife Eleonore von Clossmann, who was a member of the Catholic aristocracy of Styria. Schreker entered the Vienna Conservatory, starting with violin studies with Sigismund Bachrich and Arnold Rosé, then he moved into the composition class of Robert Fuchs, graduating as a composer in 1900.

Schreker had begun conducting in 1895, when he had founded the Verein der Musikfreunde Döbling. In 1907 he formed the Vienna Philharmonic Chorus, which he conducted until 1920: among its many premières were Zemlinsky's ‘Psalm XXII’ and Schönberg's FRIEDE AUF ERDEN and GURRE-LIEDER.

November 1909 saw the stormy premiere of the complex orchestral interlude (entitled ‘Nachtstück’) from DER FERNE KLANG, the opera he had been working on since 1903. In 1912, the first performance of the complete opera in Frankfurt consolidated his fame. His next opera, DAS SPIELWERK UND DIE PRINZESSIN, which was given simultaneous premières in Frankfurt and Vienna (15 March, 1913) was less well received (the work was subsequently revised as a one-act 'Mysterium' entitled simply DAS SPIELWERK IN 1915), but the scandal caused by this opera in Vienna only served to make Schreker's name more widely known.

The outbreak of World War I interrupted the composer's success but with the première of his opera DIE GEZEICHNETEN (Frankfurt, 25 April, 1918) Schreker moved to the front ranks of contemporary opera composers. The first performance of DER SCHATZGRÄBER (Frankfurt, 21 January, 1920) was the high point of his career. The Chamber Symphony, composed between the two operas for the faculty of the Vienna Academy in 1916, quickly entered the repertoire and remains Schreker's most frequently performed work today. In March 1920 he was appointed director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and between 1920 and 1932 he gave extensive musical tuition in a variety of subjects with Berthold Goldschmidt, Alois Hába, Jascha Horenstein, Julius Bürger, Ernst Krenek, Artur Rodzinski, Stefan Wolpe, Zdenka Ticharich and Grete von Zieritz numbering among his students.

Schreker's fame and influence were at their peak during the early years of the Weimar Republic when he was the most performed living opera composer after Richard Strauss. The decline of his artistic fortunes began with the mixed reception given to IRRELOHE (Cologne, 1924 under Otto Klemperer) and the failure of DER SINGENDE TEUFEL (Berlin, 1928 under Erich Kleiber). Political developments and the spread of anti-Semitism were also contributory factors, both of which heralded the end of Schreker's career. Right-wing demonstrations marred the première of DER SCHMIED VON GENT (Berlin, 1932) and National Socialist pressure forced the cancellation of the scheduled Freiburg première of CHRISTOPHORUS in 1933 (the work was finally performed there in 1978). Finally, in June 1932, Schreker lost his position as Director of the Musikhochschule in Berlin and, the following year, also his post as professor of composition at the Akademie der Künste. In his lifetime he went from being hailed as the future of German opera to being considered irrelevant as a composer and marginalized as an educator. After suffering from a stroke in December 1933, he died in Berlin on 21 March, 1934, two days before his 56th birthday.

Although Schreker was influenced by composers such as Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, his mature style shows a highly individual harmonic language, which, although broadly tonal, is inflected with chromatic and polytonal passages.”



“Winfried Zillig was a German composer, music theorist, and conductor who was born in Würzburg. After leaving school, Zillig studied law and music. One of his teachers there was Hermann Zilcher. In Vienna he was a private pupil of Arnold Schönberg, later following him to Berlin. His first compositions date from this time.

In 1927 he became the assistant of Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera. A short time later he became repetiteur to the Oldenburg Opera. In the years 1932 to 1937, he acted as repetiteur and Kapellmeister at the Düsseldorf Opera. Positions followed as Kapellmeister in Essen and at the beginning of the 1940s as the musical leader of the Posen Opera. After the end of World War II he became the first Kapellmeister of the Düsseldorfer Oper. In the years 1947 to 1951 he occupied the position of conductor at the HR-Sinfonieorchester. After 1959 he led the musical division of Norddeutscher Rundfunk. Zillig died in 1963 in Hamburg.

Winfried Zillig was very productive as a composer. His output includes operas, oratorios, passions, choral music, serenades, string quartets, and other Chamber music, as well as lieder and suites. He was also responsible for completing the score of the oratorio DIE JAKOBSLEITER, which his former teacher Arnold Schönberg had left unfinished, at the request of Schönberg's widow. Furthermore, he made a name for himself as a music theorist with an emphasis on twelve-tone technique.”

"Thomas Stewart, was an American baritone who was renowned for his portrayals of Wotan, Amfortas and other central Wagnerian roles and who was heard frequently at Bayreuth and the Metropolitan Opera....his commanding quality came less from the size or mettle of his voice, which was surprisingly lyrical for a Wagner baritone, but from his imaginative approach to his roles. He gave his characters a measure of warmth and expressivity that made them seem complex and surprising."

- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 Sept., 2006



"Thomas Stewart, was an American baritone who was renowned for his portrayals of Wotan, Amfortas and other central Wagnerian roles and who was heard frequently at Bayreuth and the Metropolitan Opera....his commanding quality came less from the size or mettle of his voice, which was surprisingly lyrical for a Wagner baritone, but from his imaginative approach to his roles. He gave his characters a measure of warmth and expressivity that made them seem complex and surprising."

- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 Sept., 2006



“If any artist could be said to have had it all, it was Evelyn Lear — a striking beauty, a masterful musician and a singing actress of startling imagination. Lear made her nonprofessional opera début in WEILL'S DOWN IN THE VALLEY. Lear studied at Juilliard, and it was there that she met Texas-born baritone Thomas Stewart, who was to be the love of her life. Lear and Stewart were married in 1955, marking the start of a union that endured for more than fifty years, until Stewart's death, in 2006.

During their active performing careers, Stewart and Lear never marketed themselves as a team, but they frequently sang together in opera and in recital. In 1957, eager to establish professional connections in Europe, Stewart and Lear went to Berlin to study on Fulbright grants. Stewart was hired by the Städtische Oper (as Deutsche Oper Berlin was then known) almost immediately; Lear made her own début with the company in 1959, as the Composer in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS.

Lear sang Berg’s LULU in a production staged for the reopening of Vienna's Theater an der Wien, with Karl Böhm conducting; such was Lear's success that there were to be six other new productions of the Berg opera mounted for her Lulu within the decade. She made her Salzburg Festival début in 1962, as Cherubino, and the following year created Jeanne in Egk's DIE VERLOBUNG IN SAN DOMINGO for the gala reopening of the Munich Nationaltheater. Rudolf Bing offered Lear the chance to sing three roles at the Met in the 1964–65 season — Octavian, Marie in WOZZECK and Vanessa — but the soprano chose instead to make her Covent Garden début, as Donna Elvira, during the period in question. She did not arrive at the Met until the 1967 world premiere of MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA, Marvin David Levy's opera of Eugene O'Neill's cycle of plays about murder and revenge in a nineteenth-century New England family. The role of the calculating Lavinia Mannon, a daughter bent on avenging her father's murder, was a perfect fit for an artist of Lear's theatrical acumen and ambition — Lear had a great personal success and was soon established as a regular presence on the Metropolitan Opera roster.

Lear sang fifteen seasons with the Met, where her ninety-three performances in New York and on tour ranged from Cherubino, Octavian and the Composer to Donna Elvira, Alice Ford and Marie in WOZZECK. Other choice assignments were Countess Almaviva in the 1975 premiere of the Met's Günther Rennert staging of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO and Countess Geschwitz in the 1980 performance of LULU that marked the Met premiere of the completed version of Berg's opera, with Act III orchestrated by Friedrich Cerha. More than thirty years later, Lear's Geschwitz — chic, feminine and vulnerable — remains a revelatory characterization; in Lear's interpretation, Geschwitz's infatuation with the amoral Lulu had an almost unbearable poignancy. Lear made her unannounced Met farewell in 1985, as the Marschallin in DER ROSENKAVALIER, a role that had become one of her specialties since her first performances of it, in Berlin in 1972.”

- F. Paul Driscoll, OPERA NEWS, 2 July, 2012