Libretto by the composer after Fernand Crommelynck's 'Le Cocu Magnifique' (G,E)
Composed to his own libretto on a play by Fernand Crommelynck and described by Goldschmidt as a ‘tragi-comedy’, Der gewaltige Hahnrei is one of the most remarkable of those operas whose performance momentum was cruelly cut short by the rise of Nazism in Germany in the early 1930s. The story of how Bruno irrationally suspects his wife Stella of being unfaithful and then forces her to sleep with his best friend to end his uncertainty is open to interpretation on several levels. Since its rediscovery and the acclaimed first recording on Decca’s ‘Entartete Musik’ label, the opera has enjoyed highly successful stage productions in Berlin, Bern and Darmstadt, confirming its status as a gripping piece of music drama. An orchestral suite from the opera is also available for performance (see works for Full Orchestra).
"One of the great operas of the 20th century."
"... this is a highly energetic piece of music theatre. Crommelynck’s play, set by Goldschmidt in a version shortened by himself, offers a series of confidently-set situations, highly effective on stage in a plot which intensifies to the point of absurdity. Goldschmidt was able to exploit these with his clear, strongly-accented use of rhythm and mechanistic-machine-like tonal constructions in the style of New Objectivity."
"It’s easy to understand why the ‘Magnificent Cuckold’ was one of the most important German-language operas of its time. With this work, Goldschmidt succeeded in achieving something exceptional… A skilful development of Schreker’s musical language and with it, a late Romantic starting point, combine with influences from Hindemith, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Weill and even Italian opera."