New production of Jonny spielt auf

Reading time: 2 min. Ernst Krenek

A new production of Ernst Krenek’s opera Johnny spielt auf will be staged at the Salzburger Landestheater on 11 December 2013. Andreas Gergen is the stage director, Adrian Kelly conducts the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg.

Jonny spielt auf

Within days of its world première (10.02.1927), Jonny spielt auf had become a “succès de scandale” among critics and a box-office sensation with the public: in the 1927-8 season alone it was given 421 times in 45 different cities. Before long, productions were scheduled in virtually every opera house in Germany, and the work was being mounted in France, Finland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and the New York Met. The runs in Vienna and Berlin alone each exceeded fifty performances, an unheard-of phenomenon that dwarfed the success of new operas by Puccini and Strauss and bore comparison only with the great hits of the silent cinema, with which Jonny had many features of dramatic structure in common. […]

It is safe to say that more Central Europeans heard Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf and Jonny’s Blues during the late 1920s than ever heard a note of legitimate American jazz. The opponents of modern music who were to accede to power in Germany in the 1930s therefore had every reason to equate Krenek and his opera with the German Jazz Age in toto, as is all-too apparent in the visual motifs that adorned the poster of the Nazi’s vicious “Degenerate Music” exhibition in 1938. So great was the Nazi’s animus toward Krenek that he was even honoured with a lengthy entry in Stengel and Gerigk’s notorious Lexikon der Juden in der Musik (1940) although he had no Jewish ancestry at all.

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View the first two scenes of the score of Jonny spielt auf:

Ernst Krenek: Jonny spielt auf
Opera in two acts | 120'
2 2 3 2 - 2 3 3 1 - timp, perc(4), cel, pno, str - on stage: alto sax(Eb), t.sax(Bb), tpt(C), tbn, perc, pno, bjo, strQuint, solo vln - behind stage: Glasharmonika or harm, pno
07.12.2013, Landestheater, Salzburg; Franz Supper, Max; Christiane Boesiger, Anita; Nathan De'Shon Myers, Jonny; Simon Schnorr, Daniello; Laura Nicorescu, Yvonne[nbsp]; Alexey Birkus, Manager; Viorel Baciu, Bahnangestellter; Philipp Schausberger, Rudolf Pscheidl, Roland Faust, Polizisten; Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, cond. Adrian Kelly
Further performances: 11., 13., 20., 28.12.2013; 05., 09., 14.01.2014

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