BORIS BLACHER (1903-1975): 200 000 Taler.
Catalogue Number: 04P068
Label: Arthaus Musik
Reference: 102 185
Description: In terms of plot, the story is a slight romantic comedy set in a 19th-century Jewish community. A tailor wins a fortune in the lottery and is thus elevated to the bourgeoisie; his daughter becomes eligible for wealthier suitors than before; a business partnership is proposed; the win turns out to be a mistake; the daughter ends up with a suitor from her own social stratum, and with relief all around, the status quo is restored. In fact, the libretto, based on Scholom Aleichem's 1916 comedy 'The Big Prize', is a sharply observed portrait of European Jewish life, at a time when there was renewed interest in preserving this history after the Nazis' failed attempt to eradicate it. Blacher's score, with its dynamic, lively rhythmic vitality (based on his theories of a kind of rhythmic serialism), thoroughly accessible, very tonal clear and pungent harmonic language and conventionally lyrical dialogue vocal lines, makes this an attractive and entertaining opera, eschewing the avant-garde tendencies of the time. Convincingly realistic sets and costumes and a particularly effective production. Filmed in TV drama style, with the action highlighted with close-ups, multiple camera angles and editing (and some suspicious lip-syncing! - not distracting) all tastefully done but with little sense of watching the production in an opera house. Subtitles in English and German. Martha Mödl, Dorothea Weiss (sopranos), Ernst Haefliger, Günter Reich (baritones), Orchestra of the Deutsch Oper Berlin; Heinrich Hollreiser (rec. 1970). 4:3 format. PCM mono. NTSC all regions. 96 min.