Culture Monster

All the Arts, All the Time

« Previous Post | Culture Monster Home | Next Post »

Removing the stigma on Franz Schreker

April 3, 2010 | 10:00 am


The Austrian composer Franz Schreker appears to be having a posthumous moment in the sun.

Next Saturday, his 1918 work "The Stigmatized" will receive its U.S. premiere at Los Angeles Opera -- making it the first time that any operatic work by the composer has received a full production in the Western hemisphere. This summer, Bard SummerScape in New York will mount the American premiere of Schreker's "A Distant Noise."

With more productions of Schreker's operas also taking place in Europe, the composer is enjoying the kind of success that he was forcefully deprived of while he was alive. The son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother, he lost two important teaching posts as a result of Nazi laws that made it difficult for people of Jewish descent to hold public posts. He died in 1934 at the age of 55 following a stroke.

"The Stigmatized," which is being produced as part of L.A. Opera's "Recovered Voices" series, is one of the composer's best-known works. It tells the story of a love triangle between a hunchbacked nobleman named Alviano Salvago; the object of his amorous attention, Carlotta; and the powerful count Vitelozzo Tamare.

The opera contains adult situations including nudity and an orgy involving kidnapped women on a beautiful island. It almost goes without saying: Don't bring the children.

Read the full story about Schreker's opera in Sunday's Arts & Books section.

-- David Ng

Photo: Robert Brubaker as Alviano Salvago and Anja Kampe as Carlotta Nardi in Schreker's "The Stigmatized." Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times