Opera by Franz Schubert, adapted by Gerald Wirth
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Concert performance with Indian dance.
Shakuntala (“Little Bird”) is a drama by the ancient Indian poet Kalidasa, which draws its material from that epic poem, the Mahabharata. Shakuntala grows up in the forest as the foster-daughter of an ascetic. One day King Dushmanta passes by as he is out hunting. The two of them fall in love, and the events of the drama are set in motion. It tells of love, duty and righteous anger, of gods and men and heroes. In 1789 Sir William Jones, a pioneering figure in the field of Indian studies, translated the piece into English. Georg Forster produced his German translation in 1791. Intellectual Europe, which at that time was always on the look-out for “the original”, was enthralled.
Goethe declared: “Willst du den Himmel, die Erde mit Einem Namen begreifen; Nenn ich Sakontala dich und es ist alles gesagt.” (If you want to understand heaven and earth in a single name, I shall call you Sakontala, and then all is said and done.” Franz Schubert was also entranced by the work, and began to set it to music. But he never completed his opera. What survived were the libretto and voice parts, along with preludes and instrumentation. Together, these give his some insight into Schubert’s intentions. Gerald Wirth has carefully orchestrated Schubert’s original. Shovana Narayan is one of India’s most celebrated Kathak dancers. Her choreography provides a bridge between the music of Schubert and the world of Indian culture.
FRANZ SCHUBERT „Shakuntala“ D 701, in der Fassung von Gerald Wirth für Orchester, Sänger, Chor, Tänzer und Sprecher, Text von JOHANN PHILIPP NEUMANN
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