Lear (opera)

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Lear
Opera by Aribert Reimann
Lear at Hamburgische Staatsoper 2012 - Photo No 2 by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg.jpg
Erwin Leder as the Fool and Bo Skovhus as Lear in a 2012 production at the Hamburg State Opera
Librettist Claus H. Henneberg
Language German
Based on King Lear
by William Shakespeare
Premiere 9 July 1978 (1978-07-09)
National Theatre Munich

Lear is an opera in two parts with music by the German composer Aribert Reimann, and a libretto by Claus H. Henneberg, based on Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear.

Background and performance history[edit]

Reimann wrote the title role specifically for the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who had suggested the subject to the composer as early as 1968. Reimann then received a commission from the Bavarian State Opera in 1975. The world premiere, in a production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle with Fischer-Dieskau in the title role, occurred at the National Theatre Munich on 9 July 1978, with Gerd Albrecht conducting.[1]

The production was revived in Munich in 1980.[2] The US premiere, in English translation, was presented by the San Francisco Opera in June 1981, with Thomas Stewart as Lear, under Gerd Albrecht.[3][4] The Paris premiere took place in November 1982, in a French translation by Antoinette Becker.[5] The UK premiere was presented by English National Opera in 1989.,[1] while the Swedish premiere took place at the Malmö Opera on 27 April 2013.

Roles[edit]

One notable departure from operatic convention was to make the part of Lear's Fool a speaking role, rather than a sung role. In addition, compared to the Shakespeare original, the parts of Kent and Edmund, for example, have been greatly reduced.[1]

Role[6] Voice type[6] Premiere cast 9 July 1978[7]
(Conductor: Gerd Albrecht)
Lear baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Fool spoken role Rolf Boysen (de)
Goneril, daughter of Lear dramatic soprano Helga Dernesch
Regan, daughter of Lear soprano Colette Lorand
Cordelia, daughter of Lear soprano Júlia Várady
Duke of Albany baritone Hans Wilbrink
Duke of Cornwall tenor Georg Paskuda
King of France bass-baritone Karl Helm (de)
Duke of Gloucester bass-baritone Hans Günter Nöcker
Edgar, son of Gloucester tenor/countertenor David Knutson
Edmund, illegitimate son of Gloucester tenor Werner Götz
Earl of Kent tenor Richard Holm
Servant tenor Markus Goritzki
Knight spoken role Gerhard Auer
Chorus: servants, guards, soldiers, Lear's and Gloucester's retinue

Instrumentation[edit]

The orchestral score requires:[6]

Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Graeme, Roland (2001). "Lear. Aribert Reimann". The Opera Quarterly. 17 (1): 158–161. doi:10.1093/oq/17.1.158. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  2. ^ Marker, Frederick J., "Theatre in Review: Lear (Aribert Reimann)" (March 1981). Theatre Journal, 33 (1): pp. 112–114.
  3. ^ John Rockwell (17 June 1981). "Lear by Aribert Reimann". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  4. ^ Michael Walsh (29 June 1981). "Three Premieres, Three Hits". Time. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  5. ^ Lieblein, Leanore, "Theatre Review" (Périclès, Prince de Tyr / Lear) (May 1983). Theatre Journal, 35 (2): pp. 262–263.
  6. ^ a b c "Aribert Reimann – Lear". Schott Music. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Lear, 9 July 1978". Almanacco Amadeus (in Italian).
  8. ^ Griffiths, Paul, Review: "Reimann. Lear" (1980). The Musical Times, 121 (1644): p. 107.
  9. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Reimann – Lear – Albrecht". Deutsche Grammophon. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Aribert Reimann – Lear". Oehms Classics. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 

Sources