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Luis Gago

Wozzeck: The suicide soldier URL:

The opera, born in a very specific time and sociological and cultural environment, had to find the way of adapting to permanently changing times and audiences. After traveling a very long path of metamorphosis along three hundred years, finally in the 20th century we received Pelléas et Mélisande (1902) by Claude Debussy: a unique, and thus unrepeatable proposal. But it would not be until 1925 when the genre finally acquires its current status through Wozzeck by Alban Berg, the opera that would inaugurate modernity. Based on a naked and dark drama by Georg Büchner, Wozzeck proposes a new way to understand opera, finally independent of tonal submission, but at the same time deeply in-debt to the classical forms (instrumental, not vocal). The protagonist is a declassed, an antihero, a Mr. Nobody, and the story it tells is not different from the one a thousand times told about jealousy, desperation, and death. But the stark and penetrating prose of Büchner and the close and visionary music of Berg make the miracle of transforming the plot, which was originally based on real facts, a profound metaphor of the human condition.

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