Alex Ross reviews “Die Soldaten”

02008-07-14 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Infernal Opera: Musical Events: The New Yorker
When Mozart placed a loud, dark, bone-chilling chord of D minor in the first bars of “Don Giovanni,” he set a new precedent for operatic curtain-raisers: instead of charming his listeners into paying attention, he would stun them into submission, with intimations of the awakening of the dead and the opening of the gates of Hell. Modern scholarship suggests that Mozart may have derived aspects of his famous gesture from none other than Antonio Salieri, that most unfairly abused of composers, whose opera “La Grotta di Trofonio,” premièred two years before “Don Giovanni,” contains some strikingly similar demonic noises. Ever since, composers have tried to outdo each other with carefully engineered hammer blows of fate. Verdi’s “Otello” begins with a rumbling six-note dissonance; Strauss’s “Elektra” with a souped-up D-minor detonation; Alban Berg’s “Lulu” with a sharply stabbing figure that foreshadows the heroine’s fate.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s 1965 opera “Die Soldaten,” the story of a woman’s degradation at the hands of a series of heartless soldiers, has a prelude of such stupefying intensity that it stands for the moment as the ne plus ultra.

Continue reading here.
David Byrne wrote this about the opera.

1 Comment

  1. yumi

    Enjoyed reading both reviews.
    Byrne is very entertaining in his description, “as if the earth is being tilted”.

    That was a nice added visual to his description to his impressions of the music.


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