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*Deutsch

Pfitzner, Hans

Das Herz (1930-31)

(The Heart)
Duration: 170 minutes
Drama for music in three acts

Libretto by Hans Mahner-Mons (G)

Scoring
Major roles: S,A,T,Bar,B; 11 minor roles; chorus 3.3.3.3-4.3.3.1-timp.perc-cel-harp-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
11/12/1931
Staatsoper, Berlin
Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler
Company: Berlin Staatsoper



World Premiere
11/12/1931
Munich
Conductor: Hans Knappertsbusch
Company: unknown

Roles

DOCTOR DANIEL ATHANASIUS, physicianBaritone
WENDELIN, his assistantSoprano
ASMODITenor
HELGE VON LAUDENHEIM, a court ladySoprano
THE DUKE/PROSECUTORBass
THE DUCHESSContralto
PRINCE TANCRED, a small boySpoken role
COUNSELLOR ASMUS MODIGERTenor
A YOUNG KNIGHTTenor
1ST COURT LADYSoprano
2ND COURT LADYContralto
1ST SERVANTBass
2ND SERVANTTenor
1ST ASSISTANT PHYSICIAN
2ND ASSISTANT PHYSICIAN


Time and Place
A South German dukedom, about 1700


Synopsis

Dr Athanasius has knowledge of magic powers, but is wary of using them since he understands the consequences. When he is visited by the court official Asmus Modiger on behalf of the moribund son of the Duke, he initially says he cannot help, but the intervention of the beautiful Helge von Laudenheim – who also visits him and reminds him how he cured her old mother several years before – persuades him to undertake the necessary incantations. The young man is cured, but it is at the cost of a human heart chosen by the demon Asmodi himself: at the end of a year another heart must take its place. The success of his ministrations, however, brings him favour at court, riches and a wife – Helge herself. After the year is up, however, at the time of celebrations for the anniversary, Asmodi appears to Athanasius and demands the heart: it is that of Helge. She falls lifeless and Athanasius is accused of witchcraft. Even now, the Duke is prepared to save him if he will work the miracle again, but Athanasius, knowing of the suffering entailed to another, refuses. As he is led away to a terrible death, Helge's spirit appears to him and he is offered one more chance to save himself by giving the demon another heart. His rejection of the offer leads to his salvation, as his spirit and Helge's are seen moving away together, leaving his lifeless body behind.


Moods
Dramatic, Tragic


Subjects
Ethics, History, Magic/Mystery, Mythology


Recommended Recording
André Wenhold, Volker Horn, Roberta Cunningham, Beth Johanning, Kerstin Quandt, Robert Dressler, Lucian Chioreanu, Iris Melle, Rosiza Atanasova, Lars Hübel, Ingo Christoph, Nikolai Borowski, Thüringian Landestheater Chorus, Thüringian Symphony Orchestra, Rolf Reuter
Marco Polo 8.2236278

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