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Beethoven - Strauss

Die Ruinen von Athen (1811/1924)

(The Ruins of Athens)
Duration: 60 minutes
A musical entertainment with dances and choruses, partly incorporating 'Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus', in a new edition and adaptation by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss

Text by August von Kotzebue, adapted by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (G)

Scoring
S,2B; 2speaking roles; silent role; chorus; ballet; 2.2.2.0-2.2.2.0-timp-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for all countries except Germany, Italy, Portugal, Danzig, and the former territories of the USSR.



World premiere of version
9/20/1924
Operntheater, Wien
Josef Turnau, director / Alfred Roller, designer / Heinrich Kröller, choreographer
Conductor: Richard Strauss
Company: Kate Loitelsberger, Alfred Jerger, Josef v. Manowarda, Carola Jovanovic, Luise Helletsgruber, Paula

Roles

THE GODDESSsilent role
THE STRANGER, a German artistBass
AND OLD GREEKBass
HIS WIFEspeaking role
THE ELDER DAUGHTERSoprano
THE YOUNGER DAUGHTERspeaking role


Time and Place
1800, Athens, during the occupation by the Turks


Synopsis
In an Athens square, with a view towards the Acropolis, townsfolk await the regular appearance of a stranger, and bemoan the occupation of their once proud city by Ottoman forces. The stranger, a German poet, appears and muses on the ruins of the past, invoking the goddess Pallas Athene. His ideal is to achieve artistic perfection, mending the fragments of lost culture, and joining with the ancients in a celestial round-dance. Darkness falls and he finds himself transported as if in a dream back to Ancient Greece. In a moonlit grove, with statues of the Gods silhouetted against the night sky, bacchic revellers and maidens appear and dance before him. They encourage him to join their celebrations and attempt to crown him with vine leaves. He declines these Dionysiac pleasures, being intent on loftier pursuits. A procession of priests leads him away from the bacchanale, to celebrate his marriage to Pallas Athene, symbolising a new union between the modern and ancient cultures. Illuminated by a rosy light, the Acropolis becomes visible in its pristine state.


Moods
Poetic


Subjects
Mythology, Literary


Recommended Recording
Bodil Arnesen, Yaron Windmüller, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Chorus, Karl Anton Rickenbacher
Schwann 365362
Click here to purchase this CD set from Amazon


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