The name Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) is not an unfamiliar one to the BDO’s audience. His incredibly rich oeuvre encompasses nearly every genre, from art songs to concertos and opera. Nevertheless, he is known to most of us as one of the greatest Hollywood composers of the era, whose genius was recognised by the film industry of the time with two Oscars.
Indeed, Korngold always thought in terms of theatre, cinema, scenes and characters. This is why we felt his works were the perfect complement to Shakespeare’s opulent comedy. This performance features not only excerpts from the incidental music he composed for Much Ado About Nothing, but also ones from his Violin Concerto and other shorter works. In putting together the production, Gábor Hollerung freely selected the musical passages from the composer’s extensive oeuvre that best support the scenes in the play. The aim was to create a performance that actually required the orchestra and the actors to interact with each other dramatically. Sometimes the orchestra “comments” on the events on stage, or “shares its opinion” about the actions and/or traits of the characters – all using the tools of music, of course. Korngold proved to be the perfect partner for this, as he liked to employ leitmotifs to portray characters, allowing him to immediately impress key traits in the audience’s mind. In order to prevent the performance from running late into the night, the creative team were forced – in a slightly sacrilegious fashion – to greatly abridge Shakespeare’s masterpiece, although of course without harming the play’s dramaturgy. This solution allows the music more space, giving rise to almost a new kind of symphonic theatre.
Partner: National Theatre of Szeged