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Of Purest Heart

An unusual double bill at LA Opera
impresses MARIA NOCKIN


On Sunday 24 February 2008, Los Angeles Opera presented a double bill consisting of two operas whose composers were negatively affected by the Third Reich. The first opera of this double bill was Der Zerbrochene Krug ('The Broken Jug'), a comedy composed by Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944). The composer, who wrote his own libretto, based it on a play by Heinrich Kleist.

'The Broken Jug'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
'The Broken Jug'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

Set in the eighteenth century, the story takes place in a small Dutch village. The local judge, whose behavior is expected to be beyond reproach, has arrived at his courtroom in a disheveled condition. He can't even find his wig, which we later discover he left in the bedroom of a young lady who had vehemently refused his advances. When her boyfriend found someone in her boudoir, there was a melée. An heirloom jug was broken and the culprit lost his wig. The next morning the owner of the jug is suing for its value in the town court.

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Copyright © 24 February 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA


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