• Korngold's last opera project

    Less than one year before his death, in spite of being deeply hurt by the indifferent reception to his last works, especially Die Kathrin, in Europe, Korngold started to plan what would be his sixth opera. As the basis for the libretto he selected a novella by Austrian writer Franz Grillpazar, "Das Kloster bei Sendomir". (The Monastery of Sendomir).


    Portrait of Franz Grillpazer

    The plot was quite straightforward. Two men arrived by chance to the Monastery of Sandomir, and had to pass there the night. An old monk tell them the story of Count Starchensky, that entered the Monastery thirty years before, after murdering his wife, Elga, because she was unfaithful with a distant cousing, Oginsky. The following morning, before their departure, the monk confess he is Count Starchensky.

    Korngold was thinking on a short opera, about 90 minutes longs. A rather standard voice casting with Starchensky being a baritone, Elga a soprano, Oginsky a tenor and the Visitors a tenor and a baritone, respectively. Of course he will write the opera in his trademark post-Romantic style. He also played with other idea that was in his mind for a number of years:

    We no longer have to lean on Puccini, Verdi or Mascagni. Producers have realised that public taste has risen and we are now conducting a test which will eventually lead to the writing of entire modern operas for the screen. When that day comes, composers will accept the motion picture as a musical form equal to the opera or the symphony…

    He wanted to compose a "television opera", at the manner of Gian Carlo Menotti's 1951 piece Amahl and the Night Visitors. Unfortunately, death comes before he could even start writing the score.


    Rosette Anday sings Korngold's Sterbelied, accompanied by the composer himself at the piano:



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