Farewell, Vienna! ™
CD of Exerpts from the original production ("He Haunts My Heart")
Recorded on Saturday, September 21st and Sunday, October 1st
Scottish Rite Center Auditorium,  Portland, Oregon

William Stromberg, Conductor
William Dean O’Neil as Korngold, actor
Barbara Custer, Eleanor Stallcop Horrox, Elizabeth Wells, Janice Edwards, John David de Haan, Michael McCall, and Alessandro Magno, Singers
Brian Farrell, Pianist
Ralph Wells, direction

A Musical Play in Three Acts based upon  the life of Erich Wolfgang Korngold with
Music by the composer and Lyrics by Various Authors
Book, Additional Lyrics and Musical Adaptations by Ralph Wells.

This show is dedicated to the late Tony Thomas, who dreamed of bringing the Korngold story to the stage.

Board of Advisors

Michael Feinstein

Phil Randall
Director & Producer

Philip Clayton-Thompson
Photographer & Director

Frank Guarrera
Baritone, Metropolitan Opera

Bernd O. Rachold
Korngold Archivist, Hamburg

Rabbi Joshua Stampfer
Institute for Judaic Studies

Ellen Faull
Soprano, San Francisco Opera

Miles Kreuger
Institute of theAmerican Musical

Chester Ludgin
Baritone, Vienna State Opera

Jerome Barry
Embassy Series, Washington DC

Donna Pizzi

Arnold Kunert
Educator & Producer



Act One "Vienna"
Scene One: "The Prodigy"

The time is 1958, in Burbank, California. The lights come up on the figure of an old man playing the piano in the study of his home. It is Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Around him are momentos of his illustrious career, including two Academy Awards on the mantelpiece and framed photographs of film stars and other celebrities. This room will be the set for the entire show. Its mood will change often, sometimes with each scene, through dramatic lighting effects and projection of visual images representing Korngold's life. The scenes themselves, which generally flow seamlessly from one to the next, are not so much differentiated by major shifts of design, but rather changes in mood and musical content. There are three large windows on the back walls, and they will also act as "screens" into the past. After a few bars of music, Korngold notices the audience and stops. He begins his tale. He starts by telling the audience that the music he has been playing is from The Snowman, the ballet which he had written at age eleven. It was premiered in its orchestral form at the Court Opera House in Vienna in 1910, when the composer was only thirteen. Korngold elaborates on his youthful fame as the most celebrated child prodigy since Mozart. Offstage, the male singers imitate the speaking voices of great contemporary musicians--Mahler, Strauss, Weingatner, Zemlinsky, and Puccini--all extolling his priases. Included among them is the voice of the boy's father, the all-powerful music critic at the New Free Press, Julius Korngold, who dispells the unfounded rumors that he had really written the music accredited to his son. Korngold goes on to tell further of his childhood, and how he was at once worshipped and overprotected. As Korngold looks on, the scene is concluded by Mezzo Soprano entering and singing a youthful song entitled A Little Love Letter, whose flowing melody expresses the adolescent composer's budding sense of romance. Throughout the show, Korngold will sometimes remain on stage for the musical numbers and other times exit.

Scene Two: "A Passionate Innocence"

Korngold continues his story. At age sixteen he wrote his first opera, the charming comedy The Ring of Polykrates, which takes place in 1797 Saxony. Coloratura Soprano enters in character as Laura. In the multi-faceted Diary Aria, she muses over the entries in the secret book, using the set as she would her own drawing room. After she has finished and exited, Korngold recounts the creation of his next opera, which is even more astounding than Polykrates. It is the remarkable Violanta. Full of passion and sexuality, Korngold marvels that his music could have been so passionate when he himself was still, at the time of its composition, completely innocent in the ways of the flesh. Taking place in 15th-century Venice, Violanta tells the story of a married woman who is tempted to adultery by the same man whose ardour had seduced her sister and driven her to suicide. As a colored panarama of a Venetian Carnival illuminates the stage, Dramatic Soprano as Violanta and Dramatic Tenor as Alfonso sing the rapturous operatic duet, Pure Love.

Scene Three: "Luzi"

With his self-deprecating humor, Korngold next tells of his experience as a military musician during the First World War. Luckily kept out of harm's way, he survived the war and resumed his composing career where it had left off. By then older, he began courting his future wife, the young actress and singer Luzi von Sonnenthal. Their respective parents were not in favor of the budding romance, and as a consequence, the young couple was continually kept apart. However, they devised ways to maintain contact, including secret musically coded letters. After Korngold had been commissioned to compose incidental music to the play Much Ado About Nothing, he formulated a plan to get to see Luzi. This was by deliberately writing a piece for her entitled The Page's Song. In a delightful and lighthearted exchange, Coloratura Soprano reappears onstage as Luzi herself. She is now dressed up in page-boy costume and reenacts this part of their courtship, culminating in the singing of The Page's Song.

Scene Four: "The Dead City"

The visual imagery becomes dark and brooding, with the spooky cover to the musical score of The Dead City projected. It was this opera, premiered in 1920, which became Korngold's most famous work. Soon it was in some eighty theaters around the globe. Not only powerful musically but eerily symbolic of post-World War I Europe, the story takes place in Bruges, Belgium, a hundred years previous. In the first of two selections from the opera, Baritone portrays Fritz, a wandering minstrel dressed as Pierrot, and with the Puccini-esque Pierrot's Dance Song he sings of the longing for his homeland on the shores of the Rhine. In the second selection, Lyric Soprano as the dancer Marietta and Lyric Tenor as Paul enter. The study now becomes Paul's room, where he has kept relics of his dead wife, Marie, including her portrait. Paul sees in Marietta the very image of Marie, and in their duet, Joy, Which Reigns Above--arguably Korngold's most well-known operatic number--together they sing of an undying love which cannot be parted by death.

Scene Five: "Hearts in Three-Quarter Time"

As the scene shifts, the ethereal voice of Dramatic Soprano is heard in the background, singing the melody to a melody from The Great Waltz. Korngold and Coloratura Soprano as Luzi resume the touching story of their courtship. By the 1920s, Korngold's career had been firmly established. In addition to his strictly compositional triumphs, Korngold had established a reputation as one of the foremost arrangers and conductors of operettas, particularly those by Johann Strauss. After one such performance of A Night in Venice, Korngold asks Luzi's mother, Frau Adele von Sonnenthal, portrayed by Mezzo Soprano, for her daughter's hand. The couple recounts their honeymoon. Dramatic Soprano appears as Frau Josephine Korngold, Erich's mother, and the couple painfully recalls the early years of their marriage, the birth of their two sons, Ernst and Georg, and their quest to get out of the grasp of Erich's clinging parents and find independence. Their exchange of reminiscences lead to stories of Vienna in the last years of its magic and glory. As Luzi disappears, Korngold suddenly envisions the figure of his close friend and frequent collaborator from those salad days, the legendary tenor Richard Tauber, portrayed by Dramatic Tenor. The stage is lit to highlight only certain parts of it, while the others are in shadows. The two men swap stories of their stage triumphs, and this leads directly to Tauber's singing of The Only Woman, which begins a medley of numbers from the successful Strauss-potpourri, The Song of Love. In a mini-tableau from the operetta, in which the other singers appear to be in a play within a play, Lyric Soprano and Lyric Tenor enter and sing the romantic duet, Come Love!, followed by Mezzo Soprano and Baritone in the comic My Heart Beats Hell-Bent for Leather. Then all four soloists sing a quartet version of the sentimental My Little Snow Princess, and they dance themselves offstage. The spotlight goes on Tauber again, and in the scene's climax--a moment of melancholy and reverie--Korngold begins to recite the German lyrics to Du bist mein Traum. This blends seamlessly into Tauber's singing of You Are My Dream, and the act ends.

Act Two
"Between Two Worlds"
Scene One: "Heliane"

The stage remains as in Act One. The lighting and projections will become evocative of the conflicting elements within the coming scene. Korngold continues his story where he had left off act, claiming that his love of operetta was partially due to its being a refuge for him. He explains that, in 1927, his fourth opera, The Miracle of Helen, premiered successfully in Hamburg, only to meet relative disappointment in Vienna. The reasons for this fate were very complex and tied into the contemporary political differences, if not outright feuds, within the music world. In the first of two confrontational moments onstage with his father, Baritone appears as Julius Korngold. Father and son discuss heatedly the causes of the problems which swirled around Heliane. Cheif among them was the rivalry between Korngold's camp and that of the New Viennese School, which held to principles of atonality and serialism. Julius detested such modern innovations and publicly criticized them. The tension was exacerbated when Julius attacked the revolutionary jazz opera, Ernst Krenek's Jonny Plays, which received its world-premiere at roughly the same time as Heliane. Krenek's supporters in return fought back with propaganda of their own, and Korngold's opera was dubbed old-fashioned and passé. Humorously, there were even cigarettes named after Heliane and Jonny, trivializing the artistic gulf between them. Korngold had intended his new opera to inspire audiences to a higher calling of sacrifice and love, and despite the controversy, he remained steadfast in his devotion to the work. As if she were in a rehearsal studio at an opera house, Lyric Soprano enters and sings Heliane's great aria, I Went to Him, which is a musical expression of love-making. Korngold begins by coaching her through it, then finds himself becoming transported by her singing of it, leaving him deeply moved by its end.

Scene Two: "A Viennese in Florida"

As old hand-colored postcard images of Florida flood the stage, Korngold once more takes his story back to his operetta triumphs, with one in particular entitled Roses from Florida, which he created from an unfinished work by his late colleague Leo Fall. Korngold then admits that many composers "borrowed" from one another, and he tells a humorous anecdote about his contemporary, the famous operetta master Sigmund Romberg. Korngold then introduces a medley from Roses from Florida, whose plot is loosely centered around a Miss World beauty contest. Baritone sings the cynical A Woman, Who Can Ever Grasp Her?; Dramatic Soprano sings the Slavic-flavored Song of My Homeland; Coloratura Soprano and Lyric Tenor sing Oh, Rose So Red; Lyric Tenor, Dramatic Tenor and Baritone sing the comic number Oh God, Oh God, Oh, God!; and the above quintet performs the finale, a reprise of A Woman, Who Can Ever Grasp Them? At the end of the scene, Korngold comes back with roses for the women, and everyone takes a company bow and exits.

Scene Three: "Reinhardt"

At this point, there has been a pause of a few minutes between this scene and the last. As the houselights go back down, the sound of a ship docking is accompanied by the Cinemascope-like image of the "Hollywoodland" sign and the overture of Kings Row. Korngold is now in Hollywood. Coloratura Soprano appears again as Luzi, and she and her husband reenact their much-anticipated arrival in New York beforehand. Korngold tells why he has come, which had been at the invitation of Max Reinhardt, the great theater director in Europe with whom he had earlier successfully collaborated in the capitals of Europe. Lyric Tenor then appears as Reinhardt himself in this scene. The two men recount their work together, including their mutual love of Shakespeare. Indeed, it is this devotion to Shakespeare, coupled with their mutual admiration, that brings them together to work on A Midsummer Night's Dream. Having been asked by Warner Brothers to film his famous stage production, Reinhardt engaged Korngold to adapt Mendelssohn's incidental music. Curious about the possibilities of this new medium of film, both men throw themselves into it wholeheartedly. To punctuate this scene, out in the aisles of the house, Lyric Soprano and Baritone appear briefly in Elizabethan costume for two Shakespearean songs, Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind and When Bird Do Sing.

Scene Four: "Hooray for Hollywood"

Korngold had planned on returning to Europe following completion of his work on A Midsummer Night's Dream, but as he tells it, he was made a tempting offer by Paramount to score an original movie operetta entitled Give Us This Night., about an Italian fisherman who becomes a star tenor in the opera. Despite the high hopes initially placed on the project, the picture was not a success. However, the film contained some of Korngold's most glorious vocal music, with the lyrics supplied by none other than the great Oscar Hammerstein. Nostalgic images of Italy are projected, and in two ravishing duets, Mezzo Soprano and Dramatic Tenor sing I Mean to Say "I Love You" and Coloratura Soprano and Baritone sing Sweet Melody of Night. Together all four conclude the scene with a quartet version of My Love and I.

Scene Five: "The Projection Room"

Warner Brothers offered Korngold the most lucrative contract ever to a film composer, and he accepted because he could divide his time between Europe and America. Korngold begins to explain more of his philosohpy of composing in general, and particularly with regard to the medium of movies. As he tells the audience of his relatively unusual technique of running the films he is about to score over and over again, composing spontaneously as he does so, Korngold is suddenly transported back to the projection room. A musical montage of songs from a variety of films enfolds before him, one immediately leading into the next. Projections from the films are shown, and the singers appear in costumes suggesting those worn by the stars on screen, going from one part of the set to another as dictated by the various combinations of singers needed. The numbers are as follows: Old Spanish Song, sung by Coloratura Soprano and the stirring Strike for the Shores of Dover, sung by the three men, both from The Sea Hawk; I Wish You Bliss from Devotion, sung by Dramatic Soprano; Fight for the Right and Without Freedom from Rose of the Rancho, sung by Mezzo Soprano and male chorus; The Cane Song, sung by Lyric Tenor, and the chorul number Adios, mama Carlota from Juarez; Angela's Song from Anthony Adverse, sung by Lyric Soprano; Come Live With Me from The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, duet for Coloratura Soprano and Dramatic Soprano; and the miniature cantata Tomorrow (When You Are Gone) from The Constant Nymph, sung by Mezzo Soprano and Chorus. By the latter number, all the singers are upstage in a row, with Mezzo Soprano in front, paralleling the climax to its respective film. Korngold is overcome by the emotional content of the piece, and when it finishes, he turns to the audience and bows. Only then does he, with slight embarrassment, realize that the whole scene has been in his mind only.

Scene Six: "Degenerate Music"

Korngold recovers himself and begins to talk to the audience once again. Nevertheless, he has been increasingly drawn into the private world of his own memory. Baritone appears again as his father, Julius. A large photographic image of his father dominates the stage, making Korngold look like a mere child below it. Julius castigates his son for prostituting his talent in the movies and for disobeying his mentorship. But Korngold protests his innocence in both cases, insisting that his career had always been one of a working musician and not an idealized myth. After the exchange with his father has come to a head and the image of Julius has disappeared, Korngold calms down and continues. He tells the audience about the dangers of intolerance and, fundamentally, prejudice--qualities which he implies were even present in his own father's personality, at least in some measure. Korngold then recounts a powerful story about his incidental work on Green Pastures, a famous film which boasted an all-black cast. As he tells it, one day actor Rex Ingram, who was playing "De Lawd," and composer Hall Johnson, who was also black, were accompanying him to lunch in the green room on the Warners lot, when they were stopped by a well-known producer and told that Negroes could not eat there. As he headed off instead to the cafeteria with the two other men, Korngold turned back to the producer and sarcastically proclaimed that he was going to eat "with God!" Now the stage gradually darkens, as this little story has lead directly into Korngold's acknowledgement of the origins of his birth. Korngold had been born of Jewish parents, though his family was essentially non-practicing, and a religious life had never been part of his consciousness. Nevertheless, because of his ancestry, Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels had branded Korngold's music "Degenerate Music," which subsequently meant that it would be banned from all German-speaking theaters in occupied Europe. Suddenly the stage darkens completely except for a special on Korngold, and violent voices ring out in the hall with anti-semitic cries against his "Jewish" music. After the horrid Nazi cries have have peaked, Korngold stands motionless. The only light in the auditorium is a single, isolated one illuminating the composer's pained face. Then the off-stage voices of Lyric Tenor and women's chorus are heard, singing the composer's wartime Jewish Prayer, and in the darkness the sound floats out over the audience. The music seems to cleanse Korngold, and the act ends.

Act Three
"The Bitterness of Obscurity"
Scene One: "Kathrin"

From the darkened stage, the lights slowly come up on Korngold, who is standing in the same position he was in at the end of the previous act. He is conscious of the audience once more and reflects upon the twists of fate which saved him from the horrors of the Holocaust. It was at the last-minute invitation to score The Adventures of Robin Hood that Korngold, Luzi and Georg left Austria in January of 1938. The Nazis marched into Austria on March 13th, and they immediately took possession of Korngold's home. Through the resourcefulness of Julius, his parents and grandson Ernst were able to make their way out of Austria. And in one of the more remarkable twists of Korngold's life, the composer's scores were smuggled out of Vienna through the daring rescue of an employer of his publisher, Weinberger, who took them right out from under the noses of the Nazis occupying the house. Korngold then laments the fate of his fifth, and last, opera entitled Die Kathrin. It received its premiere in supposedly "neutral" Sweden in 1939, but the fascist press destroyed it. In the first of three arias from the opera, Dramatic Soprano appears as the title character, a servant girl in love with a soldier, and sings the poignant Letter Aria, in which she bids him farewell. This is followed by Baritone as the villain Malignac, who lusts after Kathrin, and he sings his stentorian aria, In Just a Quarter-Hour. Finally, Dramatic Tenor appears as François, who sings his beautiful Rambler's Song as he searches for rest from his weary days of aimless travel. The mood of all three arias is reinforced by visual effects reflecting their respective settings, especially so with the swirling lighting of Malignac's aria, which takes place in a nightclub.

Scene Two: "A Fifty-Year-Old Child Prodigy"

Korngold brings his ironic sense of humor back into play in this scene. He tells of his triumphs and disappointments at Warner Brothers during the forties. His stories about the making of Deception with Bette Davis are particularly funny, as well as those related to the remake of Of Human Bondage, which was perhaps the worst film he scored and a critical disaster. This look back at Hollywood concludes with a performance of the only "popular" song which Korngold wrote, entitled Love for Love, from Escape Me Never. Dramatic Soprano, Baritone, Lyric Soprano and Lyric Tenor all enter and together they sing the song in a glorious quartet arrangement. The entire set and the auditorium itself are illuminated to make it appear as if everyone were in the Hollywood Bowl. Following the quartet, the lights return to normal and Korngold continues with a short anecdote about his great rival, Max Steiner, and then concludes the scene with his decision to give up writing for movies in 1946. Having felt since the end of the war that he needed to take dramatic steps to change his situation, Korngold longed to return to the concert hall and recapture his former eminence.

Scene Three: "Farewell, Vienna!"

In his first original stage work in years, Korngold set his sights on an operetta entitled The Silent Serenade. He had continued on and off to work in this genre through the Max Reinhardt English-language revivals of their great European successes, Die Fledermaus and Helen Goes to Troy, but these were adaptations and not entirely his own creations. The Silent Serenade, however, proved to be a dated vehicle for postwar Europe. It was premiered on radio in Vienna in 1951 and onstage in Dortmund in 1954, but it vanished afterwards. Nevertheless, as the singers will show, the music is ravishing. Accompanied by a single impressionistic image of Naples, where the operetta takes place, Coloratura Soprano as Luise and Lyric Tenor as Sam sing the charming comic duet Luise, and this is followed by Lyric Soprano and Baritone in the haunting duet entitled simply Serenade. Following the latter duet, Korngold comments on how times had changed in Vienna. There was no such thing anymore as a "Korngold House." Indeed, his place in the history of Austrian culture had seemed to have vanished under the crushing onslaught of first Nazism and then the postwar modernism which unjustly associated his music with corrupt times gone by that were now best forgotten. This leads Korngold to state his own artistic principles about what constitutes music and art. He longs for a return to the glories of Vienna earlier in the century, when he was one of its brightest shining lights. Mezzo Soprano enters and stands next to him, as if she is his alter ego. As huge, evocative images of Vienna fill the stage, Korngold recites the poem Sonnet for Vienna in English and she mirrors each line through music in German. By the end of the piece, Korngold is crying.

Scene Four: "A Star is Born"

The stage returns to normalcy one last time. After Korngold has regained his composure, he begins to wind down his story. He tells of his fading health. In one final amusing but ultimately sad story about Hollywood, he recounts the work he did on Magic Fire, Republic Pictures' attempt to film the life story of Richard Wagner. In addition to adapting Wagner's monumental scores, Korngold even got to portray the historical conductor Hans Richter, constituting his only appearance on screen. Nevertheless, despite the high hopes for the film initially, it was heavily cut by studio executives, disowned by Korngold, and became a critical disaster. It was a poor ending to such a distinguished career in the movies. In his concluding manifesto, Korngold states that music is music, irrespective of the genre. He has been a man who had tasted great success and later known the bitterness of obscurity. He states that he can nevertheless hold his head up proudly, knowing that, in his own heart, he never compromised his own talent. At this moment Korngold is bathed in an eerie light. Coloratura Soprano as Luzi enters again and emotionally recounts their last moments together, telling of the day in November of 1957 that her husband was struck down by a massive cerebral hemorrhage. She bitterly comments that the Vienna Opera House flew its black flag of mourning in respect, which she rightly felt was a little late. Baritone then steps out of character and directly addresses the audience. He tells of the legacy that Korngold has left to legions of fans, of his being honored with postage stamps in both Austria and his adopted homeland, the United States. Korngold's legacy has ultimately won out over the obscurity which he thought was his artistic fate. In the finale to the show, a medley of five previously sung numbers is heard: Dramatic Tenor, Dramatic Soprano, Mezzo Soprano and Lyric Tenor reprise a quartet version of You Are My Dream; Baritone sings part of the melody to Serenade; Lyric Soprano and Lyric Tenor reprise a shortened version of Joy, Which Reigns Above; Mezzo Soprano repeat the climactic moments of Tomorrow; and finally Coloratura Soprano and the entire ensemble of singers conclude with a septet version of Sweet Melody of Night. The show ends.