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Wozzeck (German pronunciation: [ˈvɔtsɛk]) is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg. It was composed between 1914 and 1922 and first performed in 1925. The opera is based on the drama Woyzeck, which the German playwright Georg Büchner left incomplete at his death. Berg attended the first production in Vienna of Büchner's play on 5 May 1914, and knew at once that he wanted to base an opera on it. (At the time, the play was still known as Wozzeck, due to an incorrect transcription by Karl Emil Franzos, who was working from a barely-legible manuscript; the correct title would not emerge until 1921.) From the fragments of unordered scenes left by Büchner, Berg selected 15 to form a compact structure of three acts with five scenes each. He adapted the libretto himself, retaining "the essential character of the play, with its many short scenes, its abrupt and sometimes brutal language, and its stark, if haunted, realism..."
|Opera by Alban Berg|
by Georg Büchner
14 December 1925 (1925-12-14)
The plot depicts the everyday lives of soldiers and the townspeople of a rural German-speaking town. Prominent themes of militarism, callousness, social exploitation, and casual sadism are brutally and uncompromisingly presented. Toward the end of act 1, scene 2, the title character (Wozzeck) murmurs, "Still, all is still, as if the world died," with his fellow soldier Andres muttering, "Night! We must get back!" seemingly oblivious to Wozzeck's words. A funeral march begins, only to transform into the upbeat song of the military marching band in the next scene. Musicologist Glenn Watkins considers this "as vivid a projection of impending world doom as any to come out of the Great War ...."