Jaromir Weinberger : Wallenstein (1937)
CPO 777963-2
Oper in sechs Szenen. Konzertante Aufführung in deutscher Sprache
German translation by Max Brod
ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
Wiener Singakademie
Cornelius Meister Dirigent

Fritag, 15.06. Wallenstein
Wiener Konzerthaus, Wien



Roman Trekel Wallenstein, Herzog zu Friedland
Martina Welschenbach Thekla, seine Tochter
Ralf Lukas Octavio Piccolomini, Generalleutnant / Dragoner / Kapuziner
Daniel Kirch Max Piccolomini, sein Sohn
Roman Sadnik Graf Terzky
Dagmar Schellenberger Gräfin Terzky
Edwing Tenias Illo, Wallensteins Vertrauter
Georg Lehner Buttler
Benno Schollum Wrangel, schwedischer Obert / Wachtmeister
Oliver Ringelhahn Gordon / Kürassier / Soldat / Erster Kürassier
Dietmar Kerschbaum Graf Questenberg / Hauptmann
Nina Berten Marketenderin
Claudia Goebl Mädchen
Johannes Schwendinger Jäger / Bedienter

Humeur : dramatique, tragique. Plus succinctement et infailliblement, vous ne pouvez pas sur l'apparence générale d'un opéra, avec cette entrée dans les informations sur l'éditeur pour l'opéra « Wallenstein » par Jaromir Weinberger. Alors que l'opéra est en soi quelque chose mais concis ou court : moins de trois heures Jaromir Weinberger a écrit la musique pour raconter l'histoire dramatique de cette guerre. la première à Vienne a eu lieu en 1937. Après quelques représentations, les ventes de Nazis le morceau du compositeur juif du répertoire et le compositeur hors du pays. Après une production mise en scène de l'opéra à Gera dans l'année 2009, cette performance viennoise avec le RSO Wien est seulement le troisième comme « Wallenstein ».
« Wallenstein » trilogie de Friedrich Schiller est à la base du livret, qui soit dit en passant, a été transféré de la tchèque original en allemand par Max Brod. L'opéra se joue au milieu de la guerre de trente ans. Le drame de la général Wallenstein a évolué dans un paysage dominé par les horreurs de la guerre. Sans de dérouler l'histoire ici en détail : l'appareil général de puissance de sa propre faute entre les avants, peut se traduire par des négociations secrètes avec l'ennemi, tombe en disgrâce, s'échappe, est assassiné. C'est une histoire de trahison multiples, fortement derrière la fidélisation, changeant les alliances, les faux amis et les intrigants vrais - une histoire de puissance et de la perte de puissance et sont en fait les deux protagonistes imaginaires de l'opéra : le pouvoir politique et leurs effets destructifs sur les gens.
Weinberger faisait également référence au XXe siècle, où il a vécu alors qu'il a écrit sur la guerre de trente ans du XVIIe siècle. « L'Art est une image miroir de la vie », note-t-il, "encore plus, c'est l'essence de la vie et l'instrument le plus exact, l'état de santé de la société, de mesurer la situation sociale de tout au long de la période. » Comment dramatiquement rapidement la « situation sociale » sur son propre travail et vie baisseraient, mais probablement aussi Jaromir Weinberger à la première de son opéra « Wallenstein » n'a pas imaginé 1937 à Vienne.

Wallenstein (Valdstejn) (1937)

World Premiere (18/11/1937)
Operntheater, Wien
Dr. Lothar Wallerstein, director
Conductor: Wolfgang Martin
Company: Alfred Jerger (Wallenstein) / Fred Destal (Octavio) / Friedrich Ginrod (Max) / Esther Réthy (Thekla)
Duration: 180 minutes
Musical tragedy in six scenes
Libretto by Milos Kares after Schiller; German translation by Max Brod Scoring
2S, 5T, Bar, 2BBar, 3B; chorus; 3.2 (II=corA).2 (II=bcl).2 (II=dbn)-

WALLENSTEIN, Duke of Friedland, General of the Emperor's forces Baritone
THEKLA, Princess of Friedland, his daughter Soprano
OCTAVIO PICCOLOMINI, lieutenant general under Wallenstein Bass Baritone
MAX PICCOLOMINI, his son, colonel in a regiment of cuirassers Tenor
COUNT TERZKY, Wallenstein's brother-in-law, commander of a regiment Bass
ILLO, Fieldmarshal, confidant of Wallenstein Bass Baritone
BUTTLER, leader of a dragoon regiment Bass
COUNT QUESTENBERG, imperial envoy Tenor
WRANGEL, a Swedish colonel Bass
GORDON, commanding officer of Eger Tenor
SENI, an astrologer Tenor
Soldiers, watchmen, monks, maidens etc

Time and Place

1634, Northern BohemiaSynopsisGeneral Wallenstein – whose army, a very motley crew, is devoted to him – conspires against the Emperor. A Capuchin friar berates the soldiers for carousing on a Sunday and fulminates against Wallenstein, whose negotiations with the Swedes have been discovered. Wallenstein, whose fatal flaw is indecision, puts his trusted lieutenant, Octavio Piccolomini, in charge of a large body of soldiers. The Emperor declares Wallenstein a traitor and replaces him by Piccolomini, who tricks Colonel Buttler, commander of the Dragoons, into deserting Wallenstein. Piccolomini’s son Max, commander of the Cuirassiers, and Wallenstein’s daughter Thekla fall in love, although her father intends her for a dynastic marriage. Max refuses to join his father, because he realises that he is motivated more by ambition than duty to the Emperor. When Wallenstein’s fall from grace becomes known several regiments change sides. The Cuirassiers, believing Max to be Wallenstein’s prisoner, march on his headquarters. Max’s duty lies with the Emperor: he leaves, and is later killed in battle. Wallenstein, meanwhile, is cut off at Eger; Buttler, Piccolomini’s henchman, convinces the garrison commander that Wallenstein must die and all his supporters are murdered. Piccolomini arrives with a message that Wallenstein is not to be killed, but it is too late.

Wallenstein in first Viennese performance since 1937

Counting this present concert performance, public outings for Jaromir Weinberger’s 1937 opera Wallenstein
may possibly have reached double digits, and such reception details, or indeed any information about the opera beyond a basic synopsis, would have made a welcome addition to the programme. With nothing but a few passing references in the scholarly literature this would have been a job for a specialist, but Vienna is not lacking in these and the programme note writer’s importance, after all, increases in direct proportion to the obscurity of the work performed. Here I can only fill in some gaps and offer a few limited observations.On paper Wallenstein is an operatic setting of Schiller’s dramatic trilogy of the same name, and presents a fall-from-grace story arc ending in the murder of its titular character, military leader Albrecht von Wallenstein, a historical character active during the Thirty Years’ War. Wallenstein commands the respect of his men, though his own loyalty to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II lessens with each day he spends in purposeless conflict with his Swedish enemy. Overtures are made to the Swedes which Wallenstein hopes will push the emperor towards peace, though his co-conspirator Octavio Piccolomini has secretly remained loyal to the emperor. Piccolomini turns Wallenstein’s army against him and the drama closes with a bloodbath, bringing an end to Wallenstein, his brother Terzky and his wife, and his comrade Illo. Max, Piccolomini’s son, had in an earlier scene fallen in love with Wallenstein’s daughter Thekla, and with his loyalties wretchedly divided between his father, Wallenstein and the emperor, he ventures into futile battle with the Swedes to meet certain death, after which Thekla dies of grief.A straightforward political allegory may be deciphered here, drawing from Weinberger’s personal situation and the circumstances of the work’s première (at the Vienna State Opera a matter of months before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany). Wallenstein bears a dedication to the then Austrian chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, who was struggling to maintain Austria’s independence in the face of German aggression; Schuschnigg’s predecessor Engelbert Dollfuss, who had brutally suppressed Austria’s labour movement and established authoritarian rule in 1933, had been assassinated by Nazi agents in a 1934 attempted putsch, and it is quite probable that like many in Austria’s Jewish community, Weinberger, a composer of Jewish origin who escaped into American exile in 1939, supported the Dollfuss regime for its scaling back of anti-Semitic measures and commitment to the Austrian nation-state. And so in Wallenstein, the parallels are painted with a broad brush: the absolutist, intolerant Ferdinand II as enemy belligerent represents Germany, while Wallenstein is a stand in for the slain Dollfuss. Historical loose threads are left hanging aplenty, perhaps because rather than in spite of Max Brod’s libretto driving the point home with unmistakable clarity. It is indeed a strange achievement of this opera that the seriousness of what is at stake registers so strongly that Weinberger can be himself – a nostalgia soundtrack for the former Austro-Hungarian empire – and the entire thing (almost) doesn’t sound absurd. Grim scene-setting with ominous martial music gives way with ease to oom-pah bands and Slavic-inflected melodic lyricism; ethereal moments bordering on atonality dissolve into plush Korngoldian statements with heart firmly on sleeve. For the Max and Thekla sub-plot Weinberger transitions into full-blown operetta mode.That all of this sounded a faintly credible mish-mash can be attributed squarely to conductor Cornelius Meister, who segued seamlessly from lilting Ländler to the dark hues and musico-dramatic sweep required for Wallenstein’s monologues. If there was a sense of Weinberger hopelessly if poignantly clinging on to an Austro-Hungarian identity that never was, I do not believe it was my imagination, or even simply there in the score. The RSO Wien were on superb form in every department and well-balanced, though the singers would not have been overpowered had slightly more been given at times. No reservations at all could be made about the Wiener Singakademie’s contribution. As Wallenstein, Roman Trekel’s menacing all-black attire bordered on Fascist iconography, as if to remind us of this martyr’s true colours, though deheroization through textual and musical nuance was quite enough, and the artistry indeed undeniable. As Thekla, Martina Welschenbach’s light voice was put through its paces with the most vocally challenging part of the cast; flexibility was not always there and phrasing short on breath, but tone was attractive. The only disappointments were the Piccolomini father and son, Ralf Lukas and Daniel Kirch; Lukas sounded a good deal too bland to commit betrayal, while erratic singing almost brought Kirch to grief in the operetta scenes. Standouts among the smaller roles included soprano Dagmar Schellenberger, who gave a sympathetic portrayal of the Gräfin Terzky with full-lyric creaminess and warmth, and resonant baritone Benno Schollum, who was the best-cast villain of the piece.

04 mars 2013