The stagings of these two one-act act operas – Franz Schubert's Der vierjährige Posten (The Four-Year Post) and Albert Lortzing's Die Opernprobe (The Opera Rehearsal) – count as a remarkable event in Hungarian opera history. Lortzing's rarely performed comic opera is being included on the Opera's programme for the first time, while Schubert's singspiel has never been mounted in Hungary at all. While the events of the former are driven forward by the composer's energetic and cheerful music, the despairing characters themselves are fighting for air and a chance to escape their fates for a moment. Amidst the increasing chaos, the youngsters also have their first experiences with love, which are often quite far removed from what they actually want. Der vierjährige Posten is a similarly exciting discovery, a work that showcases Schubert's genius. Written by his friend, Theodor Körner, it encapsulates the mix of gaiety and melancholy that was so typical of the composer. What the two works share is the vulnerability of the characters, in spite of harmony and apparent happiness, and their suffering in the absence of freedom.
We are presenting both works as part of the now-traditional Choral Festival, as a production performed by the Opera's chorus singers.
Partners: University of Theatre and Film Arts, Hungarian University of Fine Arts
Course/department heads: Tamás Ascher, Eszter Novák, György Selmeczi (musical theatre directing course); Magdolna Jákfalvi, Péter Kárpáti, László Upor (theatre dramaturg course) / Edit Zeke (Scenography Department)
The Opera Rehearsal and The Four-Year Post are being presented together, on the same nights, as part of RingFest.
The Four-Year Post
Although this might be hard to believe now, while Schubert was alive, there were only a handful of Viennese music lovers
who appreciated his music. This perhaps makes it less surprising that Schubert never had any success during his lifetime with
the nearly 20 pieces of music drama he wrote, even though a single opera would have established him both as an artist and
financially. Just as the entire oeuvre of this early-Romantic composer was discovered by figures – Mendelssohn, Schumann
and Liszt – of the next generation, his one-act singspiel Der vierjährige Posten (The Four-Year Post), which he composed
in only 11 days in May 1815, was only staged for the first time in September 1896.
In this romantic love story, Duval is a French soldier stationed to keep watch on the German frontier, where he falls in
love with the daughter of the judge of the village on the German side of the border. Abandoning his post, he lives a happily
married life with her for four years, until one day when his superiors suddenly appear...
The Opera Rehearsal
Albert Lortzing lived and worked in the first half of the 19th century. Unlike Schubert, he was successful as a composer for the stage; thanks to his parents, who ran a travelling theatre and were giving him roles when he was as young as twelve, he had a deeper understanding of what the requirements of the stage were. Later on, he sang as a tenor before taking up composing. His comic operas were particularly successful during his career, but despite the many commissions, his large family was often destitute. While Die Opernprobe was being premiered in Frankfurt, the badly overworked 51-year-old composer was lying on his deathbed at his home in Berlin. He died the following day. His pieces never became classics outside Germany and are rarely presented. Therefore, this brand-new production of Die Opernprobe (The Opera Rehearsal) will constitute a special event in the Opera’s programme – on the Odry Stage.
Quotations are used from Georg Büchner's Leonce and Lena in the translation of Dezső Tandori.