Peer Gynt 002 © Werner Kmetitsch

Opera in three acts (1938)

Music by Werner Egk                     

Libretto by Werner Egk

based on the dramatic poem (1867) on the same name by Henrik Ibsen

In German with German surtitles

Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Friday, 17 February 2017, 7 pm until  9.45 pm (Intermission: 8.00 pm)

Performances: 19 / 22 / 25 / 27 February, 1 March 2017, 7 pm

Content

Werner Egk composed Peer Gynt in 1937/38 as a commission from the Berlin State Opera where he had been engaged as principal conductor since 1936. Henrik Ibsen's fantastical play about a feckless egomaniac's search for the meaning of life gave Egk the opportunity to write a varied score in which — stylistically close to Kurt Weill — he incorporated elements such as the Charleston, the tango, muted trumpets and the saxophone which were actually things the National Socialists disapproved of at the time. Despite this, the opera received the endorsement of the regime: Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels appeared to like it. Egk succeeded in continuing his career after 1945, and his operas remained in the repertoire. From a musical standpoint, Peer Gynt is worth a closer look, possessing as it does a unique musical language: colourful mood paintings, strong characterisations and evocation of the realm of the trolls that uses trenchant rhythms and elements of satire to create thrilling musical theatre.

 

Peer Gynt lives in abject poverty from which he escapes into a fantasy world. He falls in love with Solveig, but when she rejects him at a wedding in the village he causes a scandal and runs away. He falls into the hands of the troll king, is nominated as the king's successor and is chosen to marry his daughter. However, he is frightened by the conditions attached to these plans and refuses to agree to them. When the trolls threaten him he calls despairingly for Solveig and the trolls leave him alone. Solveig comes to him, but their life together is disturbed by the troll king's daughter. Peer runs away again. Years later, he has become very rich from shady business deals and wants to become emperor of the world. However, this project fails. Once again, he falls into the hands of the troll king who now intends to pass judgement on his life: if the judgement is negative, the trolls will be allowed to keep him. Dead people who knew Peer are cross-examined. Not one of them speaks in his favour. Only his mother, who has also died in the meantime, demands he be given a chance to look for someone who knows his good side and is waiting for him. In the end, Peer succeeds in returning to Solveig. She welcomes him with love and affection, thus putting paid to all the trolls' schemes and releasing him from his persecution from the underworld.

Cast

Conductor

Leo Hussain

Biography
Director

Peter Konwitschny

Biography
Set & costume design

Helmut Brade

Biography
Light design

Guido Petzold

Biography
Dramaturgy

Bettina Bartz

Biography
Peer Gynt

Bo Skovhus

Biography
Solveig / The Redheat

Maria Bengtsson

Biography
Aase / Third black bird

Natascha Petrinsky

Biography
Ingrid / Waitress / First black bird

Nazanin Ezazi

Biography
The Old

Rainer Trost

Biography
Wife of the bailiff / Second black bird

Cornelia Horak

Biography
Mads

Andrew Owens

Biography
The President / An Unkwon

Stefan Cerny

Biography
Frist merchant / Bailiff

Michael Laurenz

Biography
Second merchant / Blacksmith

Zoltán Nagy

Biography
Third merchant / Haegstadbauer / Pimp

Igor Bakan

Biography
Orchestra

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

Biography
Choir

Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Ltg. Erwin Ortner)

Biography

Gallery Photos

Peer Gynt 2016/17

Premiere: February 17th, 2017
Director: Peter Konwitschny
Conductor:  Leo Hussain
New production of the Theater an der Wien
Photos: © Werner Kmetitsch

Videos

PEER GYNT Werner Egk

PEER GYNT Werner Egk

Oper in drei Akten (1938) von Werner Egk

Libretto von Werner Egk in freier Neugestaltung nach dem gleichnamigen dramatischen Gedicht (1867) von Henrik Ibsen
Musikalische Leitung: Leo Hussain / Inszenierung: Peter Konwitschny 
Bo Skovhus (Peer Gynt), Maria Bengtsson (Solveig/Die Rothaarige), Natascha Petrinsky (Aase), Nazanin Ezazi (Ingrid), Rainer Trost (Der Alte, König der Trolle) u. a. 
ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien 
Arnold Schoenberg Chor

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (Bild 1)

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (Bild 1)

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (Bild 2)

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (Bild 2)

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (Bild 5)

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (Bild 5)

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (9. Bild) Bo Skovhus, Maria Bengtsson

PEER GYNT Werner Egk (9. Bild) Bo Skovhus, Maria Bengtsson