This Finnish National Opera production of the opera Die tote Stadt by Korngold was staged by Kasper Holten, with Klaus Florian Vogt as Paul and Camilla Nylund as Marietta, while Mikko Frank directed the Finnish National Orchestra.
Erich Korngold is the last artist of the Viennese Romanticism movement. After composing many operas performed not only for the Viennese court but also in Berlin, Leipzig and Munich, he switched to cinema in the 1930s. He then settled in Hollywood and received two Oscars for his compositions. This piece, Die tote Stadt (The Dead City), is an opera composed in 1920. Korngold signs the composition with his name and the libretto with a pseudonym. This work is a turning point in the artist's career, making him internationally famous. Die tote Stadt is an opera in three acts, whose plot is based on the novel Bruges-la-Morte (1892) by Georges Rodenbach. This production is performed by the Finnish National Opera, conducted by Mikko Franck – one of today's most popular conductors.
The story takes place in misty Bruges. Paul lives to reminisce about his late wife, Marie. He has turned his house into a shrine dedicated to her memory and lives under close watch of her picture. One day, he returns home excited, much to the surprise of his friend Frank. Paul explains that he has met a young woman who bears a disturbing resemblance to his wife. He invites the young woman, Marietta, to the house and asks her to dance below Marie's portrait. As he gazes at her, he wonders who this woman is. Could it be Marie dancing in front of him? While Paul is becoming more and more obsessed, Marietta seduces him. She gives herself to him in front of Mary's portrait. The next morning, Marietta tries to free Paul from his wife's memory. She provokes him by donning locks of Mary's hair, which he has kept as a keepsake. Seized by fury, Paul strangles Marietta with the strands of Mary's hair. Suddenly, he wakes up and realises that this was all a dream. He decides to leave the city, as his late wife's presence is too strong there.
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