With Die Tote Stadt, the Royal Opera presents a rediscovered masterpiece in its Royal Opera House and UK premiere. Although Erich Korngold became famous through the rich symphonic sounds of his great Hollywood film scores, his early gem of an opera from 1920 was a huge success before he went to America, yet until recently has been mostly neglected.
With a style reminiscent of Richard Strauss and a nickname of the Viennese Puccini, it is no surprise that in Die Tote Stadt, Korngold reveals in his opera the melody and drama, the atmosphere and emotion for which he later won his Oscars.
The story of Die Tote Stadt follows the sometimes-real and sometimes-imagined world of Paul, locked in the grip of memories of his dead wife Marie. Marietta, a young woman who resembles Marie in looks but certainly not character, offers the chance for Paul to break free from his obsession with the past and return to his own life and a future.
Willy Decker’s production of Die Tote Stadt has already received praise for its visual and dramatic creation of a world on the edge of reality, its striking design of impressionistic and fragmented imagery conjuring the dreamlike world of Bruges – the dead city of the title – as the obsessive Paul experiences it.
Performed in German with English surtitles.
Learn more about London operas within the West End.