Personalities | George Enescu | Modern Era | Opera

1881–1955, Romanian

Enescu was a true prodigy – a brilliant pianist, superb conductor, and a man whose memory for music rivalled that of Mozart. Born in Romania, Enescu studied in Vienna and Paris, where he sat alongside Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924), Jules Massenet (1842–1912) and other celebrated French composers. Working with some of the best musicians of his day, he led an active life on the concert platform. Yehudi Menuhin was among his students, as was fellow violin prodigy Arthur Grumiaux.

Enescu’s opera, Oedipe (‘Oedipus’), while still in manuscript form, was lost en route to Moscow in 1917. Four years later, he began reassembling the work, but it took 10 years to complete and another five to make it to the stage. Finally premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1936, Oedipe was a grandly conceived work, depicting the story of Oedipus from birth to the grave, and involving an orchestration that used three sets of timpani and a wind machine. Modern-day revivals have included the 2002 Edinburgh Festival, where the production’s critical success renewed widespread interest in this neglected work.

Introduction | Modern Era | Opera
Personalities | Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau | Modern Era | Opera
Houses & Companies | Paris Opéra | High Romantic | Opera


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