Stage & Scene | Gustav Mahler | Turn of the Century | Opera

No discussion of this period in opera’s history would be complete without looking at Gustav Mahler (1860–1911). Although he is known primarily for his expansive, neurotically tinged symphonies and orchestral song cycles, he contributed hugely to the development of opera through his work as a conductor.

Mahler was born in 1860 and he began his conducting career at Bad Hall, Austria in 1880. Moving between posts in places such as Laibach (Ljubljana), Kassel, Prague and Leipzig, he finally achieved his dream when appointed director of the Hofoper in Vienna in 1897. Mahler spent the next decade at the theatre performing a wide variety of operas, including works by Wagner, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Mozart and Gluck. He was determined to achieve the best possible performances and his insistence on the highest standards often led him into confrontation. He wanted to make the opera house a place of serious performance as opposed to a social meeting place where the music and drama were secondary to displays of fashion and wealth. Mahler’s work in Vienna with the designer Alfred Roller was of particular importance in defining staging techniques as being integral to the drama and meaning of opera.

Introduction | Turn of the Century | Opera
Stage & Scene | Supertitles | Modern Era | Opera


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