SLAVKO OSTERC: FROM THE COMIC OPERA, FOUR SYMPHONIC PIECES
Dušan Topolovec, tenor ………. Raoul Gérard
Luka Ortar, bass-baritone …….. kapitan Dubreuil
Andreja Zakonjšek Krt, soprano………… Julietta de Santenis
Irena Petkova, mezzo-soprano…………….. Roza
Bruno Konda, tenor ……………Charvalu
Slovene National Theatre Maribor Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Simon Robinson
Slavko Osterc: From the Comic Opera
Slavko Osterc: Quatre pièces symphoniques / Four symphonic pieces
On 9 November 2018 precisely 90 years will have passed since the premiere performance at the Ljubljana Opera of the one-act from the Comic Opera, the most advanced Slovene opera ever performed up to that time. Slavko Osterc (1895–1941) composed it shortly after his return from a two-year period of study in Prague which, in large part due to the influence of Karel Boleslav Jirák and Alois Hába, had transformed his expressive language into that of an avant-garde composer. Marij Kogoj’s opera The Black Mask – a work that today enjoys a reputation as one of the finest Slovene artistic works – was staged a year later. With his orientation towards expressionism, Kogoj modelled himself on the composers of the Second Viennese School. Meanwhile Osterc’s from the Comic Opera clearly shows the influence of Igor Stravinsky and his neoclassical tendencies. Osterc created his own libretto for his musical sketch, as he himself described the work, on the basis of a text by the French novelist and poet Louis-Henri Murger. Osterc’s rich period of writing for the musical theatre, which in Slovenia offered the new compositional approaches of contemporary opera, also includes the 1929 five-act opera The Chalk Circle (believed lost until 1988 and finally premiered in 1995), which was followed by three single-act works: Salome (1929), Medea (1931) and Dandin in Purgatory (1931). In his earlier period Osterc composed the operas The Baptism on the Savica (1921), Osveta (1923) and the lost work Oedipus Rex (1922–25). His works for the stage also include three compositions for “dance theatre” – From Satan’s Diary (1924), The Masque of the Red Death (1930) and his final and largest-scale ballet Illusions (1937–40), for which the composer prepared a piano reduction but did not succeed in completing the orchestral score. Osterc also planned Quatre pièces symphoniques (Four Symphonic Pieces) to serve as intermezzi between the acts of Illusions. These works were conceived as a stand-alone cyclical composition in four movements. This symphonic “suite”, written in 1939 and first performed the following year, and Osterc’s minute opera will on this occasion be performed by the Maribor Opera, part of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor and, along with the Ljubljana Opera, the principal operatic institution in Slovenia.
Helena Filipčič Gardina
At 7.00 pm, a conversation with conductor Simon Robinson, will take place in Old Hall. Conversation will be moderated by Dr Ana Vončina.