Florentinische Tragödie, Eine (‘A Florentine Tragedy’)
- Alfred Clayton
(‘A Florentine Tragedy’)
Opera in one act, op.16, by Alexander Zemlinsky to his own libretto after Oscar Wilde ’s A Florentine Tragedy; Stuttgart, Hoftheater, 30 January 1917.
Oscar Wilde’s A Florentine Tragedy no doubt attracted Zemlinsky for a number of reasons. First, there was the example of Salome, which he had first conducted on 23 December 1910. This may have suggested the one-act form and the idea of dispensing with the kind of post-Wagnerian libretto that had marred Der Traumgörge. The opera certainly owes something to the claustrophobic chiaroscuro of Elektra and Salome, though its more immediate models may have been Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, Korngold’s Violanta and Schillings’s Mona Lisa, one of the principal motifs of which is a precursor of Zemlinsky’s ‘death’ motif. Eine florentinische Tragödie also has a personal dimension, for the plot mirrors the tragic events surrounding Mathilde Schoenberg’s love affair with the painter Richard Gerstl, who committed suicide in ...