Odyssey Opera: Die Tote Stadt
September 13, 2014
Die tote Stadt (The Dead City)
by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Libretto by Paul Schott (pseudonym of Erich and Julius Korngold), after the novel Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach
In 1895 in the fading city of Bruges, Belgium, Paul mourns the death of his saintly young wife, Marie, for whom he maintains a veritable shrine in his home. His friend Frank urges Paul to move on with his life, but Paul insists that Marie “still lives,” and that he has in fact met her on the street. This eerie look-alike for Marie is Marietta, a coquettish dancer, who follows Paul back to his home and, in spite of his odd behavior, attempts to seduce him. As Paul struggles between fidelity to his wife’s memory and attraction to Marietta, he enters a series of increasingly disturbing and violent visions, and the plot takes on the subtleties of a psychological thriller.