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Lady Magnesia: World Premiere of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Opera in Liverpool

The one-act opera LADY MAGNESIA by Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996) will receive its world premiere at the first international Weinberg Festival in Liverpool on 18 November 2009. The work is based on Bernard Shaw’s play “Passion, Poison and Petrification.” Clark Rundell will direct a four-person ensemble of soloists and the Ensemble 10/10.

The organisers have made the following statement in the programme announcement: “Weinberg is regarded as the third great Soviet composer, alongside Prokofiev and Shostakovich; his dramatic, passionate music is recognisably from the same stable.” The odd story of the opera “Lady Magnesia” is based on a comedy by Bernard Shaw. The jealous Sir George Fitztollemache decides to murder his wife, whose heart seems to belong to the lackey Adolphus Bastable. A nocturnal meeting between the couple changes the situation, however. Adolphus becomes the victim of a poison attack of the man of the house. By taking an ostensible antidote consisting of plaster, the house friend is finally petrified in death into a statue of himself. Sir and Lady Fitztollemache set Adolphus’s statue upright; it spreads out its arms over the Fitztollemaches in a more or less blessing gesture. The role of Lady Magnesia will be sung in Liverpool by Emma Morwood.

This posthumous opera premiere is part of a remarkable international Weinberg rediscovery which will reach its climax at the 2010 Bregenz Festival. Two other essential operas of Weinberg, “The Passenger” and “The Portrait” (based on Gogol) will be performed there alongside numerous symphonic and chamber works.

18 November 2009
The Cornerstone, Liverpool Hope University, 7:30 PM
World premiere: Mieczyslaw Weinberg
LADY MAGNESIA. Opera in 1 act after Bernard Shaw
Soloists: Emma Morwood (soprano), Carolina Krogius (mezzo-soprano), Tom Raskin (tenor), Phil Smith (baritone)
Ensemble 10/10
Conductor: Clark Rundell


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