Belated premiere for an act of Liszt’s only opera, “Sardanapalo”

Posted on: August 21, 2018

“David Trippett is Cambridge University’s senior lecturer in music,” writes Kate Connolly in Friday’s (8/17) Guardian (U.K.). “Thanks to Trippett’s dogged determination to translate and decipher a neglected sketchbook of composition by Franz Liszt, … the first act of an Italian opera called Sardanapalo written almost 170 years ago, is having life breathed into it for the first time…. The Staatskapelle Weimar orchestra, which the Hungarian-born Liszt conducted for 16 years from 1842, [was rehearsing for the premiere] on Sunday evening. [Soprano Joyce] El-Khoury sings the main female role of Myrrha. ‘It is spine-tingling to be giving voice to a work which has never been heard before,’ … she says…. Trippett spent more than three years poring over the 111-page manuscript…. ‘Most music scholars considered it to have too many gaping holes,’ [he says]…. There are several theories as to why Liszt … failed to complete his only opera…. ‘I think it fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons, not least because he had so much else going on,’ says Trippett…. Kirill Karabits, the Staatskapelle’s Ukrainian-born music director, insists there is no more fitting place for the music to be performed than Weimar, where Liszt wrote the work.”

Posted August 21, 2018