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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Enoch Arden


Wiener Kammeroper / Vienna / Music / Stage

The story of the castaway sailor who comes home to his bride is touching, and many folk songs give it a happy ending. But not Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s novella-length tragic ballad “Enoch Arden” (1864), to which Richard Strauss added incidental music in 1897. All but forgotten today, the piece found surprising favor in its time; collectors may have come across more recent performances by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (who recorded everything) and by Jon Vickers, whose all-but-Biblical pathos lends the material a mournful dignity. Now the ever-adventurous Theater an der Wien gives us another perspective on Tennyson’s poem: a long-neglected opera by the little-remembered Ottmar Gerster, dating to 1936. The score will be heard in a chamber reduction by Matthias Wegele, mounted in a multimedia production by David Haneke, with the appealing Austrian baritone Markus Butter in the title role. —M.G.

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