Die tote Stadt

Die tote Stadt

La ville morte : opéra en trois actes

DVD - 2001 | German
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Publisher: [Munich] : Arthaus Musik, 2001
Branch Call Number: GERMAN DVD 792.542 K8428D 2001
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (145 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
Language Note: Sung in German, with optional subtitles in English, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish ; menu in English, French, Spanish or Japanese
Alternative Title: Ville morte


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Sandrine1949 Sep 05, 2013

This is a very powerful and, sadly, neglected work, composed by ErichKorngold, (famed composer of musical soundtracks for (now) classic films made during the GoldenAge of Hollywood), when he was very young. I remember attending the NorthAmerican premiere of this opera at NYCOpera in the mid-1970s, and leaving the theatre transfixed.

The story is very dark and poignant: a young man has lost the love of his life, when his wife dies at a very young age. His extreme mourning and grief drive him to the brink of mental-break. Those around him urge that he leave the past to the past, actively embrace each new day, living in the moment rather than dwelling in the past.

This version of the opera, as presented on this DVD is much different in-tone than the presentation I enjoyed 40years ago, in that it is much darker and presents our hero as "unhinged". and, although I was a little disquieted by the (intentional) bleakness of the production, the strength of the singers demanded attention, bringing me to sobs at the end of the opera.

For a "taste" of this very fine, unusual and rarely seen master-work, go to YouTube and search for: TorstenKerl aria finale DieToteStadt; this scene will beautifully lay-bare the central themes of the opera: love, loss, mourning and resignation; equally, and also on YouTube, search for the same aria finale... but this time substitute JamesKing, and you will view a scene much more reminiscent of the NYCOpera production premiered in the mid 70s.. Either will allow you to glimpse the beauty of Korngold's gorgeous music and the great, great artistry of two extremely gifted helden-tenors, one very young... the other much more mature.

The libretto of this opera is significant, so make-sure to simultaneously watch the sub-titles as you listen; I promise you an artistically great and moving dramatic experience. Simply-put: not to be missed! Enjoy!


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