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Still no text for the third Capriccio release, Zemlinsky’s Der Traumgörge (George the Dreamer). A shame, since it is a fascinating piece. Mahler commissioned Zemlinsky to write it for the Vienna Staatsoper but then resigned, and the opera was shelved and languished for decades. This live performance is quite astonishing, with Gerd Albrecht again whipping the orchestra into a frenzy of post-Wagnerian passions in this strange tale of a youth and his obsession with fairy tales and dissatisfaction with the humdrum of everyday life. A vision of a fairy princess encourages Görge to forsake home and girl, and he embarks on a life of disappointment supported only by another outcast, Gertraud, performed by the same singer as the princess. Eventually he returns home with her, feels the love and lives happy ever after. Who needs magic realism? Or magic mushrooms for that matter. It’s a psychoanalyst’s dream case. Der Traumgörge is overlong and needs editing – Zemlinsky gave up on it – but a lot of the music is sumptuous, the effects dazzling. I confess to a general dislike of Zemlinsky, but admit I was bowled over by some parts. Josef Protschka returns in the killer role of Görge in incredibly tensile voice, ably supported by Pamela Coburn as Grete (the village girl) and a dramatic Janis Martin in the dual roles of Princess and Gertraud.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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