December 10, 2013

Berg's Wozzeck - March 22, 2014

The Metropolitan Opera

Matinee broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera continue on Classical 90.5 at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, March 22nd, with a performance of Wozzeck by Alban Berg, with text in German adapted by the composer from Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck. The performance will run approximately two hours.

First performed in 1925, Wozzeck is written in the Expressionist style, a school of writing promulgated by Arnold Schoenberg and his two disciples Alban Berg and Anton Webern. The proponents of the style believed that art (music, art, literature, etc.) should reflect the inner consciousness of its creator rather than produce a physically accurate depiction of a scene, object or character. The painter, composer or writer should “express” his personal feelings, even if it sometimes meant exaggeration or distortion. As a result of this premise, Berg’s opera is composed in a musical idiom which may be difficult to grasp upon first hearing. It is atonal (no real key, no central tonality common to most Western music up to that time) and quite dissonant. However, the jagged music of Wozzeck works to underscore the opera's sorrowful tale of a poor soldier, his unfaithful mistress, a murder, and the orphaned child who does not understand the enormity of the circumstances he faces as the story concludes.

The following excerpt from Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck sets the stage for Berg's telling of the story: "Once upon a time, there was a poor little child with no father and no mother. Everything was dead, and no one was left in the whole world. Everything was dead, and the child went and cried day and night ... and there he sits to this day, all alone."

James Levine conducts Berg's gripping modern masterpiece. Deborah Voigt and Thomas Hampson step into the demanding roles of the embattled Marie and the hapless and lamentable title character for the first time on their careers.

Marie: Deborah Voigt
The Drum-Major: Simon O'Neill
Captain: Peter Hoare
Wozzeck: Thomas Hampson
Doctor: Clive Bayley

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona