Traumgörge, Der (‘Görge the Dreamer’)
- Alfred Clayton
(‘Görge the Dreamer’)
Opera in two acts and a Nachspiel by Alexander Zemlinsky to a libretto by Leo Feld; Nuremberg, Opernhaus, 11 October 1980.
Zemlinsky’s third opera, Der Traumgörge (1904–6) depicts the progress of a naive and idealistic dreamer, a kind of latter-day Parsifal, who renounces revolution in favour of idyllic married life with the princess of his dreams. It is a kind of epithalamium for his first wife, Ida, whom he married in 1907. Feld’s libretto, a conflation of various sources including Richard Volkmann-Leander’s fairy-tale Vom unsichtbaren Königreich and Hermann Sudermann’s novel Der Katzensteg, is marred occasionally by some incoherent symbolism. The music is characterized by a propensity to total thematicism, and the density of the leitmotivic web and some of the harmonic and thematic material reflect the influence of Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande. Mahler accepted Der Traumgörge for the Hofoperntheater and suggested a number of improvements. Although the rehearsals (with Erik Schmedes in the title role) were far advanced when Mahler left Vienna, Felix Weingartner, his successor, refused to honour a promise to perform the work, thus dealing a major blow to Zemlinsky’s career. The specifically ...