On an island of debauchery where young girls are objects for the pleasure of the Genoese nobility, Franz Schreker depicts a range of protagonists obsessed by appearance. With THE STIGMATISED, Schreker, often called the most worthy heir of Richard Wagner, writes a remarkable opera. Director David Bösch paints a compelling picture of a degenerate world.
Genoa in the 16th century. Alviano is a very rich nobleman. On an island next to the city, he has himself built the Elyseum, a domain dedicated to the beauty of nature and arts. But it is a place on which he has not set foot, obsessed by his own ugliness. The self-assured Tamare, on the other hand, is a handsome noble, who has set up, against Alviano’s will, an elaborate brothel on the island, where Genoese nobility have their way with abducted young girls. Between those two men is the painter Carlotta. She is able to see beyond Alviano’s outward deformity into the beauty of his soul. Alviano accepts to pose for her and they fall in love. But Carlotta also feels attracted by the beauty of Tamare, to whom she finally succumbs. While the lovers are enjoying their pleasures, Alviano surprises them and kills Tamare. Carlotta lets herself die by his body. Alviano looses his mind.
Commissioned by Zemlinsky, who was himself obsessed by his own ugliness, the opera tackles late 19th century concerns with corrupted beauty and the devastating ugliness. In the Viennese post-Wagnerian School, this subject inspired Schreker to write the most enchanting lavish and sensual music. It is in this that Schreker is seen as a most worthy heir of Wagner. Little by little, the opera is returning to the repertoire, helped by a well-received production at the Salzburg Festival in 2005. David Bösch, who directed on LE NOZZE DE FIGARO in Amsterdam (on THE OPERA PLATFORM at the start of the season 2016/17), stages an extremely dark and powerful production. THE STIGMATISED is the chance to discover a composer of a venomous charm who enjoyed huge success in the beginning of the 20th century, especially with another opera called DER FERNE KLANG (THE DISTANT SOUND).