Der Zwerg and Der Zerbrochene Krug


Der Zwerg and Der Zerbrochene Krug double bill directed 2008 by Darko Tresnjak at the Los Angeles Opera:

  • Alexander Zemlinsky Der Zwerg one-act opera to libretto by George Klaren. Stars Rodrick Dixon (The Dwarf), Mary Dunleavy (Donna Clara, Infanta of Spain), Susan B. Anthony (Ghita), James Johnson (Don Estoban), Melody Moore (First Maid), Lauren McNeese (Second Maid), Elizabeth Bishop (Third Maid), Karen Vuong (First Playmate), and Rena Harms (Second Playmate).

  • Viktor Ullmann Der Zerbrochene Krug one-act opera to a libretto by the composer. Stars James Johnson (Adam, the judge), Bonaventura Bottone (Licht, the court Clerk), Steven Humes (Superior Judge), Elizabeth Bishop (Frau Marthe Rull), Melody Moore (Eve), Jason Stearns (Veit Tümpel), Richard Cox (Ruprecht), Natasha Flores (Frau Brigitte), Rena Harms (First Maid), Lauren McNeese (Second Maid), and Ryan McKinney (Servant).

James Conlon conducts the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra (Concert Master Stuart Canin) and Chorus (Chorus Master Grant Gershon). Set design by Ralph Funicello; costume design by Linda Cho; lighting design by David Weiner; choreography by Peggy Hickey. Directed for TV by Kenneth Shapiro. Both titles sung in German. Released 2010, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade (for both titles): B

Both of these operas come from Jewish composers who were suppressed by the Nazis during the period of the Third Reich (Ullmann was murdered at Auswitz). They have been revived by James Conlon as part of his “Recovered Voices” project promoting works from that era that remain little known. The disc package gives Zwerg top billing. But Krug is the title that plays first on the disc. The motto of this disc is a quote from Horace Walpole, "Life is tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think." Krug is a boisterous comedy about a judge who has a bad hair day. Zwerg follows as an intense and sad counterpoint. This would be a good disc to show to guests because you get a lot of variety in well-done productions that are relatively short.

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