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Banned by the National Socialists

Franz Schreker in 1912

Franz Schreker in 1912

San Francisco Symphony, Wednesday at 8:00 PM


Die Gezeichneten—how ironic. The opera called The Branded or The Stigmatized written in 1915 was wildly popular from its 1918 Frankfort premiere on; that is until the 1933 ban on Jewish art. Today its composer, Franz Schreker, is starting to see a revival with the 2005 Salzburg Festival staging of Die Gezeichneten, and 2010 productions in Zurich and Los Angeles.

Die Gezeichneten is based on a German play called Hidalla; Alexander Zemlinsky had asked Schreker to create for him a libretto of the story. Schreker did write the libretto, and kept on going; writing the music himself. Across Germany and Austria there were some two dozen productions of Die Gezeichneten. During the twenties, he was director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, and a widely celebrated composer.

Mercifully, perhaps, Franz Schreker did not live to suffer the same fate as so many people of Jewish extraction in the 1930’s and 40’s; he had a stroke in ’33 and died in 1934.

Wednesday at 8:00 PM, hear some music by Franz Schreker when the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Edo de Waart plays the prelude to Act I of the opera Die Gezeichneten.

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