Tod Machover’s opera Schoenberg in Hollywood will receive its European premiere at the Volksoper Wien in Vienna, Austria on April 9, 2022—exactly two years from when it was originally scheduled in April 2020, then postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Schoenberg in Hollywood was critically acclaimed when it was first presented at Boston Lyric Opera in November 2018. The opera mixes live action and film, and acoustic music and surround-sound electronics, to tell the story of composer Arnold Schoenberg who revolutionized music through a kind of “atonal” relativity—not dissimilar from Einstein’s theories of the same period—while simultaneously seeking maximum real-world impact and public acceptance through his beautiful-but-strange sounds. In fact, Schoenberg was shunned by audiences and critics in his native Vienna, then banned by the Nazis, finally arriving in sunny southern California in the mid-1930s.
Machover’s opera centers around Schoenberg’s Hollywood meeting with film producer Irving Thalberg, and tells the story of Schoenberg’s life through various flashbacks—transporting the audience to Vienna at the turn of the century and then through his exiled journey to Los Angeles, exploring his courageous search to combine radicalism and public acceptance, spirituality and political action, startling dissonance and ear worm singability, and—as Schoenberg called it—“style and idea."
This brand new production of Schoenberg in Hollywood runs at the Vienna Volksoper from April 9-24, bringing Schoenberg’s music and story—through Machover’s interpretation—back to where it all began.