OP0572. DER RING DES POLYKRATES (Korngold), recorded 1995, Berlin, w.Siebel Cond. Berlin Ensemble; Endrick Wottrich, Beate Bilandzija, Jürgen Sacher, Kirsten Blanck & Dietrich Henschel. (Germany) CPO 999 402, w.Elaborate 83pp. Libretto-Brochure. Brilliant sound! - 761203940226
“In 1916 at the age 19, Korngold became an instant success with his first two one-act operas DER RING DES POLYKRATYES and VIOLANTA.
Friedrich Schiller wrote the lyrical ballad of DER RING in June, 1797. The story tells the tale of the fate of Polykrates boasting of his victories to Pharaoh Aamsis. It begins as the Pharaoh reminds Polykrates that arrogance defies the Gods and brings about the downfall of the perpetrator of hubris. This ballad became a comic parody by Heinrich Teweles (1856-1927), which becomes the basis of the libretto of the Korngold Opera DeR RING DES POLYKRATYES. Its final incarnation is by the famous Austrian librettist/dramaturge Leo Feld.
These two works have an interesting connection: Gustav Mahler suggested to Korngold's family that he study composition with Zemlinsky in Vienna. These works are also rarely performed, and share the fate of having been suppressed and banned by the Nazi regime due to the Jewish Heritage of the composers. Although popular when they were first produced, with the rise of the Third Reich the two composers were forced to flee, with Zemlinsky eventually resettling in New York and Korngold in Los Angeles, and these works fell into near-complete obscurity.
While these works were originally debuted in opera houses in Germany, performing them in Los Angeles, where Korngold became famous for his scores for films like THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD and CAPTAIN BLOOD, brings a full circle relevance to these productions.”
- BWW News Desk, 11 Oct., 2019