Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This July in Bregenz: The Passenger/Die Passagerin by Moisey Weinberg

Between the festivals in Munich and Salzburg/Bayreuth there will also be a popular festival in Bregenz. This year they will present a new David Pountney's production, this time of an opera by Mieczysław Weinberg called The Passenger/Die Passagerin.

A hugely talented young Teodor Currentzis will conduct the Wiener Symphoniker and a solid cast including  Elena Kalessidi, Roberto Sacca and Michelle Breedt.

On the Bregenz Festival web-site you find a succinct description of this opera that you most probably don't know much about:
Two young women, both voyaging by ship to a new and different life, are caught up by the history that links them to one another: The Passenger by the Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg is the Festival Opera House production in summer 2010. The opera is based on a novel with the same title by the Polish Auschwitz survivor Zofia Posmysz. Completed in 1968, the opera was first performed in 2006 in a concert performance in Moscow.

The Passenger is regarded as a work of extraordinary originality and gigantic dimensions. Shostakovich praised it as a masterpiece and used all his influence to try and get it staged. But in spite of the fact that four Soviet opera houses expressed an interest in staging The Passenger, it was vetoed every time by the cultural authorities.

David Pountney insists and calls Moisey Weinberg a "Third Man" alongside Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Even though the composer died after the end of the Soviet era [he died in 1996], he didn't live to see a scenic performance of his opera.

Ed I learned that this production will travel to Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, Teatro Real in Madrid, and to  New York.

David Fanning presents Mieczysław Weinberg in this video:

I listened to a few clips on YT and Shostakovich/Prokofiev is the key. If you like those two you are likely to dig this music too. Check out this, and/or this....

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