Von heute auf morgen

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Von heute auf morgen (From Today to Tomorrow or From One Day to the Next) is a one act opera composed by Arnold Schoenberg, to a German libretto by "Max Blonda," the pseudonym of Gertrud Schoenberg, the composer's wife. It is the composer's opus 32.

The opera was composed at the end of 1928 (finished on the first day of 1929), and was premiered in Frankfurt on 1 February 1930, with William Steinberg conducting Herbert Graf's production. It was the first twelve-tone opera, and Schoenberg's only comedy. The libretto may indeed be a contemporary comedy of manners, but the music is complex, the angular vocal-lines and large orchestra creating a frightening whirlwind of fury. Schoenberg also wrote: "I have proved in my operas Von heute auf morgen and Moses und Aron that every expression and characterization can be produced with the style of free dissonance," in contrast to Alban Berg, who believed that a contrast with tonal elements needed to be introduced for certain reasons, and did so in his (vastly more successful) opera Wozzeck.[1]

Performance history[edit]

In 1930, after the Frankfurt premiere, the composer himself conducted a radio broadcast performance in Berlin. After that, the opera was never performed again during Schoenberg's lifetime. Recent revivals include four performances at the Leipzig Opera in 2009.[2]

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast[3]
1 February 1930
(Conductor: William Steinberg)
Die Frau / The Wife soprano Else Gentner-Fischer
Die Freundin / The Friend soprano Elisabeth Friedrich
Der Sänger / The Singer tenor Anton Maria Topitz
Der Mann / The Husband baritone Benno Ziegler
The Child speaking role

Synopsis[edit]

Place: A modern living room/bedroom.

The husband and wife have returned from an evening out and recall the earlier flirtations of the night. During the conversation, the wife gradually changes into a lovely negligee. Their small child interrupts, and is put back to bed. The singer, from earlier in the evening, telephones, making the husband jealous. The wife changes into a cocktail dress, then back into the simple house-dress seen at the start of the opera.

In the morning, the singer and the friend arrive for an early visit, and are served coffee. They champion all the latest trends in society. When they leave, the husband and wife realize, over breakfast, that their own relationship is based on love, not the mere latest fashion.

Instrumentation[edit]

The score calls for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 4 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 saxophones, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion, mandolin, guitar, harp, piano, celesta, strings. The full score is available from Schott Music.[4]

Recordings[edit]

Film version[edit]

The 1996 recording was the basis for a film version (Du jour au lendemain) directed by the French filmmaking duo of Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. Photographed on a stage in black-and-white (with a pre-credits sequence showing the orchestra tuning up), the film was one of three films by Straub and Huillet based on Schoenberg works. Earlier, they had directed a film version of his unfinished opera Moses und Aron.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Schoenberg, Arnold; Stein, Leonard, ed.; Black, Leo, translator (1984). Style and Idea. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 244–5. ISBN 0-520-05294-3. 
  2. ^ "Performances - Von Heute auf Morgen". Operabase. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Almannaco 1 February 1930" (in Italian). AmadeusOnline. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Von heute auf morgen - Schönberg - ed Richard Hoffmann". Schott Music. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Review - Schoenberg - Orchestral and Vocal Works". Gramophone. January 1973. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Review - Schoenberg - Von Heute auf Morgen". Gramophone. May 1998. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
Sources