Seething with Evil
Franz Schreker's 'Die Gezeichneten',
reviewed by GIUSEPPE PENNISI
Following Berg's Lulu at La Scala, Schreker's Die Gezeichneten reached Palermo's Teatro Massimo on 14 April 2010, a much awaited Italian première nearly ninety years after the opera's début in Frankfurt. On 17 April in Rome, Zemlisky's Eine Florentische Tragödie was on stage (albeit in a mise en espace format). Almost a mini festival of Entartete Musik -- music forbidden during the Third Reich because it was considered 'degenerate' and labeled as such.
Had you asked any German in the 1920s the name of the greatest living German opera composer after Richard Strauss, he would have answered Franz Schreker. As war petered out, the revolution collapsed and the Weimar republic lurched into rampant inflation, the Munich-born, Vienna-trained Schreker (1878-1934) added two new triumphs to his massive pre-war hit, Der Ferne Klang (seen in Italy only once at La Fenice in Venice in 1985), Die Gezeichneten ('The Marked Ones' or 'The Branded ones', I Predistinati in the Italian translation), first staged in 1918, probably now seems like ugly oppression in a post-Wagner, pre-Munich Putsch era...
Copyright © 17 April 2010