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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Wagner: Das Liebesverbot

02/23/2014 1:00 pm
02/23/2014 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Frankfurt Opera quickly follows up on its previous Oehms Classics release of Richard Wagner's first opera Die Feen (1833) with his second opera, Das Liebesverbot (1836), an even more obscure work of Wagner's youth and a true rarity on disc. I broadcast Die Feen less than a year ago on Sunday, May 12, 2013. Like that previous Frankfurt Opera production of "The Fairies", this one was recorded live from a series of concert performances given in 2012. 

Sebastian Weigle is again directing the Chorus and Museum Orchestra of Frankfurt Opera, with a cast of eleven solo voices. As always, even way back then in his career, Wagner wrote his own libretto for Das Liebesverbot ("The Ban on Love"), adapting it himself in part from a German language translation of Shakespeare's comedy, Measure for Measure. Wagner managed to get his "Grand Comic Opera" staged just once in Magdeburg, where it was a flop. Wagner tried to have it mounted in other German cities, and even proffered a French language version of it for production in Paris, but to no avail, so he subsequently chose to forget all about Das Liebesverbot, scarcely mentioning it in his memoirs.

We don't normally think of Richard Wagner as a humorist in music. The 2013 release of "The Ban on Love" on two CD's, which I can only assume is its world premiere on disc, at the very least offers us some insight into the lighter side of this German Romantic heavyweight.