Die Vögel (opera)
Die Vögel (The Birds), Op. 30 is an opera in a prologue and two acts by Walter Braunfels. The libretto, written by the composer, is a free adaptation of Aristophanes' comedy The Birds which was performed at the Dionysos Theatre in Athens in 414 BC.
The opera was first performed on 30 November 1920 at the National Theatre Munich, with Bruno Walter conducting and Maria Ivogün (the Nightingale) and Karl Erb (Good Hope) in the principal roles. This was followed by more than 50 performances in Munich alone the following two years, and by further performances in Berlin, Vienna and Cologne (where Otto Klemperer conducted).
The first post-war staging of the opera took place in Karlsruhe in 1971. Another production was staged in Bremen in 1991, followed by a concert performance in Berlin in December 1994.
Recently, the opera has been given in various opera houses in Europe:
- at the Grand Theatre Geneva in February 2004, with Ulf Schirmer conducting the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
- at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in April/May 2007 (the Italian premiere, conducted by Roberto Abbado)
- at the Konzerthaus Berlin in March 2009 (two concert performances including video-installations, with Lothar Zagrosek conducting the Konzerthausorchester Berlin)
The United States premiere was staged in 2005 at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, with Julius Rudel conducting. It was later performed in April 2009 at the Los Angeles Opera, with James Conlon conducting.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast
30 November 1920
(Conductor: Bruno Walter)
|Nachtigall (Nightingale)||high soprano||Maria Ivogün|
|Hoffegut (Good Hope), human citizen of a big city||tenor||Karl Erb|
|Ratefreund (Loyal Friend), human citizen of a big city||high bass|
|Wiedhopf (Hoopoe), once a human, now King of the Birds||baritone||Friedrich Brodersen|
|1. Drossel (1st Thrush)||low soprano|
|2. Drossel (2nd Thrush)||soprano|
|voice of Zeus||baritone|
|3 swallows, 2 tits, 4 doves, 4 wrynecks, 2 peewits, 3 cuckoos, chorus of birds, voices of the scent of flowers, voices of the winds|
The orchestral score requires:
- 3 flutes, 1 flute behind the scenes, oboe, English horn, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons;
- 4 horns in E, 2 trumpets in B-flat, 3 trombones, tuba;
- timpani, percussion (2 players), 2 harps, celesta;
- strings (violins I, violins II, violas, violoncellos, double basses).
In 1996 Decca released the world premiere recording in their Entartete Musik series. This recording was made in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem in December 1994, with Lothar Zagrosek conducting the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
- "Walter Braunfels - Die Vögel, ein lyrisch-phantastisches Spiel in 2 Augzügen, op.30". Universal Edition AG Vienna. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- "Die Vögel: celebrated, banned, rediscovered, then forgotten - Some biographical observations" (Release notes). Die Vögel. Walter Braunfels. 448679-2.
- "Walter Braunfels CV". Walter Braunfels official website. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- Roderic Dunnett (3 February 2004). "Die Vögel, Grand Théâtre, Geneva". The Independent. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- "Opera and ballet season 2007". Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- Peter P. Pachl (29 March 2009). "Konzertante Operninstallation: Braunfels' "Die Vögel" im Konzerthaus Berlin" (in German). Neue Muzikzeitung. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- Yvonne M. Wenger (27 May 2005). "DIE VOGEL". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
- "Spoleto Festival USA Program History". Spoleto Festival USA. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "Production - The Birds". Los Angeles Opera. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- Chris Mullins (April 2009). "Review - Walter Braunfels's Die Vögel at Los Angeles Opera". Opera Today. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- Anthony Tommasini (13 April 2009). "Music Review - "Die Vögel"". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- Robert Cummings (1997). "CD review Die Vögel". ClassicalNet. Retrieved 11 August 2010.