Montag, 06.12.2021 15:47 Uhr

Between Self-Determination and Societal Convenience

Verantwortlicher Autor: Nadejda Komendantova Theater an der Wien, 25.11.2021, 10:44 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Kunst, Kultur und Musik +++ Bericht 2182x gelesen

Theater an der Wien [ENA] November days in Vienna were highlighted by the fulminant performance of the romantic dramatic opera La Wally by the Theater an der Wien known for its excellent performances. The distinguished publicum of classic music lovers from Vienna but also from other cities in Austria was invited to premier of La Wally on the 12th of November and the high expectations of spectators were not betrayed.

The Theater an der Wien, as usually, surprised the spectators by the excellent performance, fantastic voices of opera singers, carefully designed costumers and stage decorations. The music of La Wally was written by Alfredo Catalani and the libretto by Luigi Illica at the end of the 19th century after the roman of Wilhemine von Hillern “Die Geier-Wally”. The story is about Wally, la femme fatale, who was generously gifted with everything a woman can wish – beauty, health, recognition of community and wealth. However, the only thing is missing in the life of Wally and this is love. Wally is in love with the young man Hagenbach but he does not responds to her feelings and even makes her an object of a humiliating public joke.

Another man Gellner loves Wally but she does not respond to his feelings. The opera story shows with attention to details the development of feelings within this triangle while showing the moments of pain and disappointment by each other from the site of people who could have been happy together. Finally, Hagenbach is on the way to Wally ready to love her and to forgive everything, even the fact that she was planning his murder in the moment of despair. However, there is no happy end of this story. The evil fortune reaches Hagenbach and he is covered by the snow forever. The opera ends with the words of Wally “permanent snow is my fortune”.

The opera La Wally belongs to the number of late romantic operas which are also marked by masterpieces of such composers as Richard Wagner and Jules Massanet. The characteristic of this period was dedication to feelings, to every movement of soul, tragic love and evidence of fortune which were leaving in listeners strong reflection while leading to catharsis of feelings. This was also the time of changing self-understanding of women driven by the works of such writers as Virginia Woolf about self-determination of women and their rights for participation in public life, beyond famous three K doctrine - children, kitchen, church (in German Kinder, Kirche, Kuche).

Wally is a strong character, raised by her father as an independent person who can take decisions beyond convenience of society. She is not afraid to leave home during the darkness of the evening and to go into the wildness towards her destination when her father puts her between two choices: to leave or to marry a man whom she did not love. Her braveness is rewarded when she returns wealthy and celebrated as a hero by her own community. Did the author of the story wanted to tell that it is not possible to have everything in life? Or did he want to illustrate hard choices which women of that time had to make?

This remains uncertain but in anyways this opera could be understood also beyond the context of the end of the 19th century and could be also relevant for several current everyday situations when women must make choices between self-determination and convenience of society, between professional and family life and many others. The performance had to be terminated earlier than originally planned because of the decision about temporary closure of cultural events due to pandemic situation. But the theater administration took a generous decision that the opera should be available to everybody in a form of the streaming by the national broadcasting company on the 25th of November at 20.00 on www.myfidelio.at

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