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Franz Schreker: Die Gezeichneten

  • Opera in 3 acts (1911/1913–1915)
  • 4 4 5 3 - 6 4 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp(2), cel, pno, str; stage music (can be played by the orchestra): picc, 2 hn, 3 tpt, timp, perc(2), hp, pno, str(1 1 1 1 1)
  • Duration: 150’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute
    4th flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    cor anglais (+3rd ob)
    1st clarinet in A (+cl(Bb))
    2nd clarinet in A (+cl(Bb))
    3rd clarinet in A (+cl(Bb))
    4th clarinet in A (+cl(Bb)
    cl(Eb)
    basset hn(F))
    bass clarinet in Bb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    contrabassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    5th horn in F
    6th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    4th trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    bass tuba (+cb.tuba)
    timpani
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
    3rd percussion
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    celesta
    piano
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass
    stage music: piccolo
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    timpani
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
    harp
    piano
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass;
  • Choir: SATB
  • Roles: Herzog Antoniotto Adorno, high bass Graf Andrea Vitelozzo Tamare, baritone Lodovico Nardi, bass Carlotta Nardi, soprano Alviano Salvago, tenor Guidobald Usodimare, tenor Menaldo Negroni, tenor Michelotto Cibo, baritone Gonsalvo Fieschi, baritone Julian Pinelli, bass Paolo Calvi, bass Der Capitaneo di giustizia, bass Ginevra Scotti, soprano Martuccia, alto Pietro, tenor Ein Jüngling, tenor Dessen Freund, bass Ein Mädchen, soprano Erster Senator, tenor Zweiter Senator, baritone Dritter Senator, bass Diener, bass Erster Bürger, tenor Zweiter Bürger, baritone Dritter Bürger, bass Vater, bass Mutter, alto Kind, silent part Drei junge Leute, bass, baritone, tenor Ein riesiger Bürger, bass Acht Vermummte / Edle, Bürger / Soldaten / Dienerinnen / Diener / Frauen / Mädchen / Kinder / Faune / Najaden / Bacchanten.
  • Composer: Franz Schreker
  • Librettist: Franz Schreker
  • Preface/explanatory notes: A. Albert Noelte
  • Piano reduction: Walther Gmeindl
  • Dedication: meiner lieben Mutter gewidmet
  • Remarks: Study score available at Musikproduktion Höflich: www.musikmph.de

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Work introduction

Die Gezeichneten was originally commissioned by Alexander Zemlinsky, who asked Franz Schreker to write a libretto for him to set to music – a libretto that would tell “the tragedy of the ugly man”. However, Schreker was so taken with the material that he used it as a basis for his own major operatic work. The triumphant success of the premiere established Schreker for once and for all as one of the leading operatic composers of the early 20th century. Until being outlawed by the Nazis, this work even went so far as to rival Richard Strauss’ operas. Die Gezeichneten faded into obscurity for many decades and was only rediscovered thanks to a performance in Frankfurt in 1979. This forgotten masterpiece has now assumed its rightful place on the world’s stages and has since been seen more and more often in opera house repertoires.

Although not written until between 1913 and 1915, Schreker’s opera Die Gezeichneten is a fin de siècle drama in which, alongside moments of decadence, the focus is on the essential contrast between art and life. The opera is based on Frank Wedekind’s play Hidalla oder Sein und Haben and takes place in Renaissance-era Genoa. Ugly and crippled nobleman Alviano Salvago has a paradise called Elysium built on an island near the city, to be devoted to art and beauty. On account of his own ugliness, however, he has never set foot on the island himself. He would like to gift this paradise to the city of Genoa and to make it accessible to all its citizens. Against Alviano’s will, the dashing and confident aristocrat Tamare has set up a brothel on the island in which Genoese noblemen abuse kidnapped girls. The two men are both vying for the affections of painter Carlotta. Recognising the noble soul beneath Alviano’s deformed exterior, she expresses a desire to paint him, he agrees, and the two fall in love. However, Carlotta is also attracted by Tamare’s good looks and allows herself to be seduced by him. Alviano catches them both red-handed and kills Tamare. As Carlotta dies of despair next to his dead body, Alviano loses his mind.

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World première

Location:
Oper Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main (DE)
Date:
18.04.1918

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