New Productions

ROMEO UND JULIA AUF DEM DORFE
(A Village Romeo and Juliet)

Frederick Delius
1862 - 1934
Lyric Drama in six scenes
Libretto by the composer, Jelka Rosen-Delius and Charles Francis Keary after the novel Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe (1855) from Die Leute von Seldwyla/The People from Seldwyla by Gottfried Keller
World premiere: February 22nd 1910, Covent Garden, London
First ever performance in Frankfurt
Sung in English with German surtitles
Duration: c. 95 min. without interval

About the piece

Gottfried Keller read the following news item in the Zürcher Zeitung on September 3rd 1847: »In the village of Altsellerhausen, ne ...
Gottfried Keller read the following news item in the Zürcher Zeitung on September 3rd 1847: »In the village of Altsellerhausen, near Leipzig, lived a young man of 19 and a girl of 17, both members of poor families which, because they were deadly enemies, refused to allow them to see each other. On August 15th the two young lovers met in a bar, where they danced until the early hours. The next morning their bodies were found in a field; they had shot themselves in the head.« This inspired him to write the story, which ends with Sali showing Vrenchen a barge laden with hay saying »Here is your bridal bed«, knowing only too well that they are not destined to find happiness on earth. It is, said Keller, one of the ancient, deep rooted hideous sides to human nature: »which surfaces again and again in new clothes, refusing to be let go of.«
    Frederick Delius’ operas, discovered for the first time in Germany after the turn of the last century and almost completely forgotten today, were composed at a time when late romantic and modern music crossed paths. A Village Romeo and Juliet is like an enormous orchestral rhapsody that is constantly interrupted by sudden expressionistic outbursts and shocking moments. Music is, said Delius, a »cry from the soul«.

Synopsis

Fallow land divides fields belonging to two farmers, Marti und Manz. They both secretly try to take a bit more for themselves. The ...
Fallow land divides fields belonging to two farmers, Marti und Manz. They both secretly try to take a bit more for themselves. The dark fiddler lost his rightful claim to the land because he is a bastard. He allows Sali and Vreli, the farmers' children, to play there. The farmers accuse each other of stealing land. They argue bitterly and tell their children never to speak to each another again. Six years later the dispute over the land has ruined both farmers. The children have not seen each other during this time. Sali secretly pays Vreli a visit. They arrange to meet on the land they used to play on. The dark fiddler appears and invites them to follow him and see the world, but the lovers decline. Marti, looking for his daughter, finds them together. When he tries to drag Vreli away Sali fells him with a stone. Marti has lost his mind and Vreli had to take him to a lunatic asylum. Vreli and Sali spend a last night in her home, which has to be sold. Both dream the same dream, their wedding day. In the morning they decide to visit a fair in a neighbouring village. They are recognised by the villagers, who poke fun at them for being so poor. Sali suggests they go to the Paradise Garden instead. They meet the dark fiddler again, who tells his cronies about the argument over the land and the injustice he suffered. Once again he offers them the chance to lead a carefree existence and freedom in the mountains with his fellow vagabonds. They refuse, deciding to be united forever, in death.


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Sunday 06.07.2014 19:30 h

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Cast

Conductor
Paul Daniel
Director
Eva-Maria Höckmayr
Set Designer
Christian Schmidt
Costume Designer
Saskia Rettig
Lighting Designer
Olaf Winter
Dramaturge
Norbert Abels
Chorus Master
Matthias Köhler

Sali
Jussi Myllys
Vreli
Amanda Majeski
Manz
Dietrich Volle
Marti
Magnús Baldvinsson
Der schwarze Geiger
Johannes Martin Kränzle

Chorus and Orchestra of Oper Frankfurt

 
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