An Opera by Bach?
S. Hershkowitz (Courtesy of Wiener Konzerhaus)
Yes, it’s true: an opera by Bach - not Offen-Bach, but Johann Christian Bach, the youngest son of Johann Sebastian!
Only recently did the Konzerthaus in Vienna produce a critically acclaimed performance of Franz Schubert’s opera Alfonso und Estrella in concert form. Written in 1823, five years before his untimely death, Schubert never got to hear his work. Only a quarter century later, in 1854, was it finally premiered – the conductor was none other than Franz Liszt.
The Vienna Konzerthaus will continue its cycle of lost opera treasures with Johann Christian Bach’s opera Zanaida next week. Literally lost, the score had disappeared after its successful first performance in 1683 at the King’s Theatre in London only to be rediscovered 2010 in a private collection. Conductor David Stern will lead his Paris based ensemble “Opera fuoco” in a rare performance of this unknown opera on June 3 at the Vienna Konzerthaus. Sara Hershkowitz will sing the title role.
To conclude this commendable concert cycle, the Konzerthaus has scheduled a performance of Wallenstein by Czech-American composer Jaromir Weinberger (1896-1967) on June 15th. Written in 1937, Weinberger based his work on Schiller’s Wallenstein trilogy. As composer, Weinberger follows in the footsteps of his compatriot, Bedrich Smetana. Cornelius Meister will lead the ORF Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Singakademie, with Roman Trekel as Wallenstein.