In 1915, with World War I raging all round him, 27-year old Franz Schreker – exempted from call-up on health grounds – wrote his opera Die Gezeichneten. Only three years earlier the première of Der ferne Klang had turned him overnight into one of the most important operatic composers of his time, but Die Gezeichneten, on account of its modernity and social criticism, could not initially secure a performance.
If music was ‘thought’ for Arnold Schönberg, for Franz Schreker it was, primarily, ‘sound’. In his opera Die Gezeichneten, alongside moments of decadence, the opposition between art and life takes centre stage above all else.
Since the acclaimed Salzburg Festival performance in 2005 the work has found increased sympathy. Now it is being performed again in Munich, at the Bayerische Staatsoper under Ingo Metzmacher. Performances take place on 1, 4, 7 and 11 July.