The San Francisco Opera: Die Tote Stadt

Sat, 08/29/2009 - 1:00pm

Torsten Kerl (Paul)

Photo by Terrence McCarthy

Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s third opera, Die Tote Stadt, receives its San Francisco Opera radio broadcast premiere on Saturday, August 29 at 1 p.m. on Classical 91.5/90.3/FM-HD91.5-1. The opera, based on the novel Bruges la morte by Georges Rodenbach, tells the intense story of a man whose obsession with his dead wife threatens his sanity in a deeply psychological study. Korngold, an Oscar-winning composer (Anthony Adverse, 1936; The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938), was largely responsible for the creation of the modern Hollywood sound. He composed music for numerous films including The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Of Human Bondage (1946), as well as a large opus of symphonic and chamber music. Donald Runnicles, who previously led this production in Salzburg and Vienna to great critical acclaim, will conduct. German tenor Torsten Kerl makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Paul, a man unable to come to terms with his wife’s death. Young American soprano Emily Magee, also making her Company debut, appears as the object of Paul’s obsession in this arresting production by Willy Decker, directed here by Meisje Hummel in her company debut. Former Adler Fellow Lucas Meachem returns to the Company in the combined roles of Fritz and Frank.
Sung in German with English supertitles, performances of Die Tote Stadt last approximately two hours, 45 minutes.