After wowing audiences with his astounding production of Lulu in 2015, South African artist William Kentridge now focuses his extraordinary visual imagination on Alban Berg’s other operatic masterpiece, set in an apocalyptic pre–World War I environment.
Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is on the podium for this important event, with baritone Peter Mattei making his highly anticipated role debut as the title character.
Soprano Elza van den Heever is Wozzeck’s unfaithful mate, and the commanding cast also includes tenor Christopher Ventris as the Drum-Major, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as the Doctor, and tenor Gerhard Siegel as the Captain.
Among the most visionary and influential composers of the 20th century, Berg (1885–1935) came of age amid an explosion of artistic and intellectual creativity in Vienna. His vocal and instrumental writing merges the revolutionary techniques of Arnold Schoenberg with the grandeur of such late Romantic composers as Gustav Mahler. The libretto is Berg’s own close adaptation of the play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner.
One of the emblematic achievements of the thriving artistic forces in Germany and Austria during the brief period between world wars, Wozzeck was a sensation and a scandal at its 1925 premiere. Remarkably, it has lost none of its power to fascinate, shock, and engage audiences, and its status as one of the defining musical works of the 20th century has not blunted its vitality.
The opera runs one hour, 32 minutes with no intermission.