Der Ring des Polykrates (opera)

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Der Ring des Polykrates (The Ring of Polykrates), Op. 7 is a one-act opera by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The libretto, written by Leo Feld and reworked (unattributed) by the composer's father Julius Korngold, is based on a drama by Heinrich Teweles.

Performance history[edit]

Korngold composed the opera (his first) in 1914, when he was only seventeen years old.[1] The one-act domestic comedy was contrasted by his second opera Violanta, a one-act tragedy.[2] Both were premiered together on 28 March 1916 at the National Theatre Munich. Bruno Walter conducted and the cast included Karl Erb and Maria Ivogün.[1] Both operas were repeated in Vienna, with Selma Kurz and Alfred Piccaver in Polykrates and Maria Jeritza as Violanta.[2] In November 1916, it was given at the Dresden Hofoper, with Richard Tauber and Elisabeth Rethberg in the leading roles.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast
28 March 1916
(Conductor: – Bruno Walter)
Wilhelm Arndt, Hofkapellmeister tenor Karl Erb
Laura, his wife soprano Maria Ivogün
Florian Döblinger, timpanist and music copyist tenor Franz Gruber
Lieschen, Laura's servant soprano
Peter Vogel, Wilhelm's friend bass

Synopsis[edit]

The librettist Leo Feld placed the story in the 18th century, when Friedrich Schiller's ballade of the same title was new.[3][4]

The musician Wilhelm Arndt seems to have everything going for him: he is happily married to Laura, he has been appointed Hoffkapellmeister and he has just inherited a small fortune. Only the return of his long-lost friend Peter Vogel could make him even more happy. When Vogel actually returns, he is jealous of Wilhelm's happiness, and convinces him that in order not to challenge fate, he should sacrifice something (after the example set in Schiller's ballade Der Ring des Polykrates). Wilhelm starts an argument with his wife about her former life, but the couple's love is strong enough to overcome all difficulties. In the end, all agree that the sacrifice that has to be offered is the intriguer that tried to ruin their happiness: Peter Vogel has to leave again.

Recordings[edit]

In 1996 CPO released a 1995 recording, with Klauspeter Seibel conducting the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and singers Beate Bilandzija, Dietrich Henschel and Jürgen Sacher.[5][6]

Piano music[edit]

Opera themes transcribed for piano being popular in the early 20th century, a Potpourri from Der Ring des Polycrates for piano was arranged by L. Ruffin and recorded by Martin Jones in 2001.[7]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Meyer, Andreas K.W. (1996). Der Ring des Polykrates (CD liner). Erich Wolfgang Korngold. CPO. 999402-2. 
  2. ^ a b Kingston, Robert. "Erich Wolfgang Korngold". OREL Foundation. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Erich Wolfgang Korngold Der Ring des Polykrates (opera), Op.7". classicalarchives.com. 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Friedrich Schiller. "Der Ring des Polykrates". Germany: literaturwelt.com. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Der Ring des Polykrates". Germany: CPO. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Erich Wolfgang Korngold Der Ring des Polykrates". akuma.de. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Erich Wolfgang Korngold The Piano Music". Audiophile Audition. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2010.