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Thread: Pfitzner's 'Palestrina'

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    Senior Member SottoVoce's Avatar
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    Default Pfitzner's 'Palestrina'

    What do people think of this forgotten opera and, more tragically, the forgotten composer Hans Pfitzner himself?



    On 16 February 1962, the day before he died, Bruno Walter ended his last letter with: "Despite all the dark experiences of today I am still confident that Palestrina will remain. The work has all the elements of immortality". When I first heard it, I was deeply moved on how human it was, and the subject of the opera interested me greatly. I would go see it, but I'm not sure if it gets premiered in America very often; most often in German operahouses. Has anyone heard it live? What do they think? And what do people think about Pfitzner himself? I've heard some of his works, and while not great, his lieder especially have a certain quality to them.
    Last edited by SottoVoce; Jan-14-2012 at 16:21.

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I've never heard this opera live, but I do know that it has not been forgotten among German opera houses -- a recent production starred tenor Chris Ventris. A recording from the 1960s, with an impressive cast headed by the great Fritz Wunderlich, is still available:



    Your post reminds me that I should add this to my list of recordings to be purchased. In addition to Wunderlich, the cast includes Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, Gottlob Frick, Sena Jurinac, Kurt Equiluz, Gundula Janowitz, Lucia Popp, Paul Schöffler, and (apparently) Max Lorenz -- a real embarrassment of riches!

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    Senior Member SottoVoce's Avatar
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    thanks MAuer for answering; I've been meaning to buy a recording but I tried to find some live music on youtube just to see if I would like to it; no luck, however. I think I'll just have to take a shot on this one, wondering if anyone has actually seen in this in the opera house. Pfitzner is certainly an interesting character.

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