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The culmination of the evening was Susan Marie Pierson's interpretation of Schoenberg's one character opera, Erwartung, the work in which she recently triumphed at Canada's Edmonton Opera. In 1909, the composer asked poet and medical student, Marie Pappenheim, to write a libretto for him.

Arnold Schoenberg painting 'Erwartung'. Photo © Arnold Schoenberg Center, Wien
Arnold Schoenberg painting 'Erwartung'. Photo © Arnold Schoenberg Center, Wien

The resulting work was deeply influenced by Sigmund Freud's exploration of the unconscious. Atonal at times, this work also has lush harmonies and a traditional vocal line. It was composed in seventeen days, but was not performed until 1924 when Marie Gutheil Schoder, famous for her portrayal of Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier, sang it at the Neues Deutches Theater in Prague.

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Copyright © 6 June 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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