After a long absence, Manfred Gurlitt's Nana returns to the stage this April at the Erfurt Theatre, Germany. Nana, a four-act opera based on the novel of the same name by Emile Zola, with a libretto by Max Brod, was first performed in Dortmund in 1958. "In her attempt to escape poverty, Nana enters the varieté theatre with the aim of becoming part of the Parisian upper class. She freely employs her good looks and charms in order to beguile the men around her, but soon discovers the negative side of the luxurious society in which she now finds herself. Torn between her love for Lieutenant Philippe Hugon and the Marquis Muffat, she leaves Paris. When she finally returns to Paris, terminally ill, she discovers that Philippe has taken his own life, and finally dies in Muffat's arms." (Theatre Erfurt)
Nana was written in 1932 and was to have been premièred in Mannheim the following year. Gurlitt was at this time at the zenith of his fame as an opera composer and conductor. It was not to be though, and shortly before the première the National Socialist censors banned the work as "culturally destructive" (as they did Gurlitt's other works). In 1939 he emigrated to Japan, where he enjoyed a productive opera and concert career.
Enrico Calesso conducts the new production by Michael Schulz. Stage design is by Dirk Becker. Opening night is 25 Apr.
See our Manfred Gurlitt page for more information about the composer, as well as his other operas Die Soldaten and Wozzeck.