Rather like the equally delightful Maskarade by Carl Nielsen, Svanda doesn’t show up often, especially here in the US. During the 1980s, the Cincinnati Opera mounted an unusual work each season and in 1986 Schwanda was presented in English with Erich Parce, Gail Dobish, Jacque Trussel and Sharon Graham. It didn’t start a Weinberger revival unfortunately.
The Met gave the first US performances in 1931, just four years after the Prague world premiere. Conducted by Artur Bodanzky, it featured a starry cast of Friedrich Schorr, Maria Müller, Rudolf Laubenthal and Karin Branzell. But the opera disappeared after just seven performances. I suspect the company had hoped that it would prove to be another Bartered Bride but Svanda’s folk-based melodies and infectious dance music comes in second to the Smetana which preceded it by sixty years..
Some have suggested fans generally prefer their operas tragic which is probably true.
Weinberger: Svanda dudák (in German)
24 March 2012
Dorotka: Marjorie Owens
The Queen: Tichina Vaughn
Svanda: Christoph Pohl
Babinsky: Ladislav Elgr
The Magician: Tilmann Rönnebeck
The Devil: Michael Eder
Conductor: Constantin Trinks
Svanda can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.
In addition, nearly 500 other podcast tracks are always available from Apple Podcasts for free, or via any RSS reader. The archive which lists all Trove Thursday offerings in alphabetical order by composer was recently up-to-dated.