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A filmic vision of memory and illusion
Admired by Mahler and Puccini, Korngold was only 23 when he composed this mysterious and hallucinatory study of grief, memory, and obsession. Based on a novella by Belgian Symbolist poet Georges Rodenbach, Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) was one of the biggest hits of the 1920s but has rarely been staged since World War II.
Unable to deal with the death of his wife, Paul retreats from the world to live in his memories. When he meets a dancer who bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife, his emotional state rapidly unravels leading to hallucinations.
With vivid, sumptuous music for a massive orchestra, this concert version features the Australian National Music Academy (ANAM) under the baton of internationally renowned conductor Simone Young, and superstar singers Marlis Petersen (currently artist-in-residence at the Berlin Philharmonic) and Michael Schade.
Prefiguring Korngold’s future success in Hollywood as a composer of film scores, Die tote Stadt is a sensual, intense psychological experience floating between illusion and reality.