Aria: Verstumme, dumpfer Glockenchor

Composer: Korngold Erich Wolfgang

Opera: Die tote Stadt

Role: Paul (Tenor)

Download free scores: "Verstumme, dumpfer Glockenchor" PDF
Verstumme, dumpfer Glockenchor,
Schwarz stürzt der Klang sich in die Nacht.
So weintet ihr Glokken,
Als man sie begrub
Nun mahnt ihr mein Gewiffen.
O sprecht mich los,
Ihr Beichtiger aus Erz!
Ich koste bittere Freunden,
Grausam zwie spältge Luft.
War das kein Licht ein doppelt Schattenbild?
Stets fürcht ichs,
Umfang ich selbst sie nicht in diesem Haus.
Sie fehlte im Theater.
Seh ich sie nicht, faßt Sehnsucht mich nach ihr
Un sie zu sehen, bange ich nicht minder
Da hebt es wieder an, das Glokkenlied,
Und bohrt sich tief ins Herz.
O sprecht mich los, ihr Beichtiger aus Erz!
Faßt dich ein Schauer mit mir, müde Stadt?
Es stöhnen deine alten Bäume,
Des Waffers Seufzer brechen sich
An den jahrhundertalten Grachten,
Gespenstig raunst du Unheil!
Brügge, fromme Stadt!
Eist war ich eins mit deiner Keuschheit,
So wie du eins mit meiner Toten warst.
Nun trag ich Unrast des Begehrens
In die Stille und Versunkenheit deiner Nacht.
Du weisst, dass ich in Brügge blieb. Paul. Die tote Stadt. KorngoldQuando le sere al placido. Rodolfo. Luisa Miller. VerdiTorrente cresciuto per torbida piena. Alessandro. Poro. HandelSparite, oh pensieri, se solo volete. Admeto. Admeto. HandelSì, di Corsari il fulmine. Corrado. Il corsaro. VerdiKuda, kuda vï udalilis (Lensky's Aria). Lensky. Eugene Onegin. TchaikovskyAlle sfere della gloria, alza i vanni. Sosarme. Sosarme. HandelAllons! Courage et confiance...Ah! vivre deux!. Hoffmann. The Tales of Hoffmann. OffenbachRisorto fra le tenebre. Zamoro. Alzira. VerdiSenza procelle ancora si perde quel nocchiero. Poro. Poro. Handel
Die tote Stadt (German for The Dead City), Op. 12, is an opera in three acts by Erich Wolfgang Korngold set to a libretto by Paul Schott, a collective pseudonym for the composer and his father, Julius Korngold. It is based on the 1892 novel Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach.
Rodenbach's novel Bruges la Morte had already been adapted by the author into a play. The play was translated into German by Siegfried Trebitsch under the title Die stille Stadt (The Silent City), which he later changed to Das Trugbild (The Mirage). Trebitsch was a friend of Korngold's father, Julius. The two met in the street one day and got into a conversation about a possible operatic adaptation. Trebitsch later met Erich, who was enthusiastic about the project. Trebitsch recalled "[I] met the young master Erich Wolfgang Korngold in search of a scenario or, even better, a mood or operatic background that could be dramatically elaborated. I urged him to take up Das Trugbild." Julius commented on the way the project evolved:
As soon as Erich read the play, he drafted a scenario for a one-acter, but Hans Müller urged him to get away from one-act operas and he sketched the first of three acts in prose. However, his work on two of his own plays prevented him from getting much further, and since his prose was wordy and unsingable anyway, we gladly excused him from the task.
Father and son decided to adapt the play themselves, and co-wrote the libretto, using the pseudonym Paul Schott. Julius decided to change the plot so that the murder occurs in a dream, rather than in actuality, as in the original. Korngold started the composition in 1916. He left it for a year to take up military service before resuming and completing the score.
When Die tote Stadt had its premiere on December 4, 1920, Korngold was just 23 years old with two short one-act operas, Der Ring des Polykrates and Violanta, already to his name. The success of these earlier works was so great that Die tote Stadt was subject to a fierce competition among German theatres for the right to the world premiere. In the end, an unusual double premiere was arranged and the opera opened simultaneously at the Stadttheater Hamburg and Cologne (Glockengasse). In Cologne, the conductor was Otto Klemperer, and his wife Johanna Geisler [de] sang Marietta. In Hamburg, Korngold himself was in the theatre, and the conductor was Egon Pollak. The opera's theme of overcoming the loss of a loved one resonated with contemporary audiences of the 1920s who had just come through the trauma and grief of World War I, and this undoubtedly fuelled the work's popularity.
Die tote Stadt was one of the greatest hits of the 1920s. Within two years of its premiere it had circled the globe, including several performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The Berlin première was on 12 April 1924 with Lotte Lehmann as Marietta/Marie and Richard Tauber as Paul, conducted by George Szell.
But the work was banned by the Nazi régime because of Korngold's Jewish ancestry and after World War II it fell into obscurity. The key postwar revivals of the piece were at the Vienna Volksoper (1967) and the New York City Opera (1975). In recent years, however, the work has enjoyed notable revivals, among others at the Theater Bonn, the Royal Opera House, the San Francisco Opera and at the Vienna State Opera.
The French premiere of the opera took place in a concert performance in 1982 at the Paris Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The first French staged performance was in April 2001 in Strasbourg under the baton of Jan Latham-Koenig with Torsten Kerl [de] (Paul) and Angela Denoke (Marietta).
The opera received its UK premiere on 14 January 1996 in a concert performance by the Kensington Symphony Orchestra conducted by Russell Keable at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with Ian Caley (Paul) and Christine Teare (Marie/Marietta). The first UK staged performance was on 27 January 2009 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The opera was first performed in Latin America at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 19, 1999, with Carlos Bengolea as Paul, Cynthia Makris as Marie/Marietta and David Pittman-Jennings as Frank; Stefan Lano was the conductor.
In Australia, the work was first premiered by Opera Australia on 30 June 2012 at the Sydney Opera House, with Cheryl Barker as Marie/Marietta, and Stefan Vinke as Paul, conducted by Christian Badea, directed by Bruce Beresford. In 1986, Beresford directed the episode "Glück das mir verblieb" of Aria.
When the opera opens, Paul, a younger middle-class man whose young wife, Marie, has recently died, cannot come to terms with the sad reality of her death. He keeps a "Temple of Memories" in her honour, including paintings, photographs and a lock of her hair. When his friend Frank pays him a visit at his house and urges him to honour Marie by moving on with his life, Paul flies into a rage and insists that Marie "still lives." He tells Frank that he has met a woman on the streets of Bruges who exactly resembles Marie (indeed, Paul thinks that she is Marie) and invited her back to his home.
Soon the woman, Marietta, a young and beautiful dancer, appears for her rendezvous with Paul. They talk, she is put off by his odd behaviour, but persists in trying to interest him with her charms—she sings (Lute Song, "Glück das mir verblieb") and dances seductively, but eventually gets bored and leaves. Paul meanwhile is driven into a state of extreme anxiety.
Torn between his loyalty to Marie and his interest in Marietta he collapses into a chair and begins to hallucinate. He sees Marie's ghost step out of her portrait and urge him not to forget her, but then the vision of Marie changes and tells Paul to move on with his life.
After a series of visions in which his pursuit of Marietta alienates him from all his remaining friends, the act ends with Marietta finally overcoming Paul's resistance and leading him offstage locked in a passionate embrace. All this takes place in Paul's imagination.
Paul's vision continues. Back in his house, living with Marietta, he quarrels with her. She gets fed up with his quirks and obsession with Marie and starts to taunt him by dancing seductively while stroking his dead wife's hair. In a rage, Paul grabs the lock of hair and strangles Marietta. Holding her dead body he exclaims "Now she is exactly like Marie." Then he snaps out of his dream. Astonished that Marietta's body is nowhere to be found, he has barely had time to collect his thoughts when his maid informs him that Marietta has come back to pick up her umbrella which she left at the house when she departed a few minutes ago. With the shock of the traumatic dream still fresh in his mind, Paul is met by his friends Brigitta and Frank who note that though Paul's vision is there, his desire is dead. Frank begins to leave and asks if Paul will leave, to which he replies, "I will try". The opera ends with a reprise of "Glück, das mir verblieb" sung by Paul in what is apparently his last time in his "Temple of Memories".