Violanta

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Violanta is a one-act opera by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The libretto is by the Austrian playwright Hans Müller-Einigen. It is Korngold's second opera, written when he was only seventeen years old.

Performance history[edit]

It was premiered on 28 March 1916 at the National Theatre Munich together with the composer's other one-act opera Der Ring des Polykrates, Op. 7, with Bruno Walter conducting. The North American premiere was given on 5 November 1927 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City with Maria Jeritza as Violanta, Walter Kirchhoff as Alfonso, Clarence Whitehill as Simone, Angelo Badà as Giovanni, and Artur Bodanzky conducting.[1]

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type[2] Premiere cast,[3]
28 March 1916
(Conductor: – Bruno Walter)
Simone Trovai, military commander of the Venetian republic baritone Friedrich Brodersen
Violanta, his wife soprano Emmy Krüger
Alfonso, illegitimate son of the King of Naples tenor Franz Gruber
Giovanni Bracca, a painter tenor Alfred Bauberger
Bice soprano Irene von Fladung
Barbara, Violanta's nurse contralto Luise Willer
Mateo tenor Paul Kuhn
First soldier tenor
Second soldier baritone
First maid soprano
Second maid mezzo-soprano

Synopsis[edit]

The opera is set in 15th-century Venice, at the house of Simone Trovai, military commander of the Venetian republic.

On the night of the great Carnival, Simone in vain searches his house for his wife Violanta. Ever since her sister Nerina committed suicide (after having been seduced by Alfonso, the Prince of Naples), she has been bent on vengeance. Simone is about to leave for the Carnival with the painter Giovanni Bracca, when Violanta appears. After dismissing Bracca, she reveals to Simone that she has (anonymously) arranged a meeting with Alfonso in their house, where she wants her husband to murder him. Initially Simone is horrified at this plan, but he finally succumbs to Violanta's promises and threats. The plan is that Violanta will receive Alfonso in her room, and once he is disarmed she will sing the Carnival song as a signal that Simone should enter and murder him.

Alfonso arrives. During their meeting Violanta reveals her true identity and her intention to avenge her sister. However, when Alfonso explains to her the course of his life and talks about his longing for death, Violanta realises that she really loves him and refuses to give the signal. Violanta bemoans her fate, but Alfonso implores her to think only of the present moment: they embrace and sing of the sublimity of pure love.

Their ecstatic bliss is interrupted by Simone who calls out to his wife. The lovers realise that their dream is at and end, and spurred on by Alfonso Violanta sings the fateful song with hysterical abandon. Simone enters and tries to stab Alfonso, but Violanta interposes herself and is mortally wounded. She dies in Simone's arms.

Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Metropolitan Opera Archives
  2. ^ "Violanta, Op.8 (Korngold, Erich Wolfgang), Vocal Score". IMSLP. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  3. ^ amadeusonline
  4. ^ "Erich Wolfgang Korngold - Violanta". Sony Music Germany. 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Victor Martell (2003). "Erich Wolfgang Korngold - Violanta". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 26 July 2010.