PUTZI

opera in one act
with music and libretto
by
Eduardo Alonso-Crespo

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Synopsis - Technical information - First performance - Gallery - Contacts

 

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Putzi
began as a lyric reflection on the sometimes-ambiguous relations between good and evil in our lives and particularly on the difficult ethical compromises that we as human beings have to make in order to survive in our complex real world. The final result is a visit to the always-present myth of Faust, this time on a humorous key, depicting an understanding, compassionate and somewhat ironic view of the schematic perception of ethic values that we sometimes have.

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The idea was born in 1986 due to a commission from the Centro de Estudios Semióticos Interdisciplinarios of Argentina on occasion of the centenary of the death of Franz Lizst (whose nickname as a child was Putzi, kid in Hungarian) for the First Buenos Aires Summer Festival held between January and March of 1987, although the premiere didn’t take place because of administrative difficulties. The opera was revised and completed in 2004 taking then its definitive shape.
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The theme of the opera is based on both real and imaginary anecdotes from Franz Liszt’s life, transforming them into a humorous version of the myth of Faust. As it is known, Franz Liszt had as a child a health so fragile that during his first years of life his parents kept a small coffin near his bed waiting for the worst to happen. The paradox of it (and the obvious triumph of life) is that Liszt enjoyed one of the longest existences according to the standards of his time. The characters of the opera are then Franz Liszt (whose nickname was, as said, Putzi), Niccolò Paganini (who happens to be the Devil), Life (a thin, tall and terribly naive soprano) and Death (a short, fat and ridiculously malign coloratura soprano).
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Originally conceived for a production at a summer festival, the music intends to be both light and sophisticated, using for this latter purpose a subtle net of musical references. In its unfolding the work weaves an elaborate net of associations in which musical references to Liszt and Paganini are naturally present, as web as visits to Stravisky’s L’Histoire and to the lyric music of Mozart and Rossini. In other words, the opera admits more than one reading, from a simple and entertaining fable between Life and Death to a complex set of mirrors of our operatic and musical past.

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A short suite for orchestra, mainly based on music from scene 2 and entitled Mephisto, has been extracted from the opera. As such it was premiered by the Orchestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, in Lisbon, Portugal, conducted by the composer, with later performances by the Salta and Tucumán Symphony Orchestras in Argentina. There is a commercial recording of Mephisto by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the composer for Ocean Records (OR101).

 

Date of composition: 1986 and 2004