During the 85 years (1830-1915) of Károly Goldmark's life, the world went through astounding changes, also in the realm of music history. From his unschooled provincial childhood to an honorary doctorate in Budapest, the composer's life passed many interesting and exciting milestones.
Goldmark was born as a citizen of the unified Austro-Hungarian Empire, but the world burned in flames by the time of his death: The First World War was entering its second year, and the face of Europe was changing forever. He was born in the golden age of German Romanticism but was still active when the outlines of the new music were beginning to appear: Bartók had finished Bluebeard's Castle and Stravinsky had composed his three great ballets (The Rite of Spring, The Firebird, Petrushka)....
The stage was finally set for the poverty-stricken composer toiling in theatre orchestras at the age of 45, and international recognition followed. During his lifetime, Die Königin von Saba was performed in 30 opera houses and nine languages. Regarded today as the output of a minor composer, his works are rarely played at opera houses or on concert stages. This makes opportunities to encounter his remarkable music all the more pleasurable and exciting. 'With regard to the compositional arsenal he deploys in Saba, those who do not listen carefully might say he uses too many diminished seventh chords... Although the fact is simply that he employs a very diverse and bold harmonic world. 'The unbridled fantasy keeps the work within loose limits, requiring singers with exceptional abilities, who at given moments have to reach the limits of their capacities.' (conductor János Kovács)
The exotic plot addresses the human vulnerability to passion and the loss of the ego, which Solomon wisely advises can only be reacquired through one's own strength.
Concert version performance in German, with Hungarian surtitles
Presented by: Hungarian State Opera
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