Friday 8 April 2022

Schoenberg in Hollywood: Tod Machover's opera finally gets its European premiere in Vienna

Tod Machover: Schoenberg in Hollywood - Vienna Volksopera

Tod Machover's 2018 opera Schoenberg in Hollywood takes as its starting point the moment when, having fled Nazi Germany and taken refuge in Los Angeles in 1935, the composer had a meeting with film producer Irving Thalberg (brokered by Harpo Marx!). The project was a soundtrack for the film The Good Earth, but it quickly ground to a halt as Schoenberg wanted total control of the film score.

Simon Robson's libretto does not so much examine Schoenberg's life in Hollywood as to consider what it is to be an artist with the tension between integrity (including Schoenberg's unfinished opera Moses und Aaron) and bringing great artistic development to the masses but needing some compromise.

Machover's opera was commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera and received its premiere in 2018 [see Boston Classical Review's review of the 2018 premiere]. The planned European premiere was delayed by COVID, but this is finally happening and rather appropriately the opera is having is European debut in Vienna. The Vienna Volksoper gives the European premiere of Tod Machover's Schoenberg in Hollywood on 9 April 2022 at the historic Kasino (just across the road from the home of Arnold Schoenberg's archive). The new production is directed by Helen Malkowsky.

Full details from the Vienna Volksoper website.

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