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date: 04 August 2020


  • Andrew Clements


Opera in three acts by Alban Berg to his own libretto, after Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck; Berlin, Staatsoper, 14 December 1925.

*Sprechstimme roles

Berg began work on an operatic treatment of Büchner’s play in 1914, after he had attended its first Viennese performance at the Residenzebühne on 5 May. It had been given in Landau’s revision of K. E. Franzos’s 1879 edition of the text and entitled Wozzeck because of a misreading of the almost illegible manuscript; Berg prepared his libretto from the Landau edition and hence preserved the misspelling in the opera. By the end of 1914 he had prepared a draft libretto and made some musical sketches, but he then set it aside to finish the Three Orchestral Pieces op.6. Conscription and subsequent service in the Austrian War Ministry prevented his returning to work on Wozzeck until 1917; he reported progress by autumn the following year, but even after the end of World War I it remained slow. Act 1 was completed by ...

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