Weimar will stage abandoned Liszt opera

Weimar will stage abandoned Liszt opera


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2018

We reported a year back on the British scholar who found a lost Liszt opera.

Well David Trippett now tells us the work will receive its world premiere in August.

The leading roles will be sung by Joyce El-Khoury and tenor Charles Castronovo.


From the press release:

Principal Conductor Kirill Karabits, the Staatskapelle Weimar will give the world premiere of a rediscovered Italian opera by Franz Liszt – which was left incomplete and has lain largely forgotten in a German archive for almost 100 years. “The name of the composer Franz Liszt has never been associated with Italian opera”, Karabits explains. “I’m delighted to be conducting the premiere of Sardanapalo in Weimar. This discovery should open a new page not only in Liszt’s musical heritage but also in the music history of the 19th century.” Act 1 of the opera survives complete. This will be presented in a concert version.

The music has been resurrected by David Trippett, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge. He discovered the opera manuscript was legible more than ten years ago, a century after it had been catalogued and largely forgotten in the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv in Weimar. “The music that survives is breath-taking – a unique blend of Italianate lyricism and adventurous harmonic turns and side-steps”, Trippett explains. “There is nothing else quite like it in the operatic world. It is suffused with Liszt’s characteristic style, but contains elements from Bellini and Meyerbeer, alongside glimmers of Wagner.”



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    According to the press the manuscript is written mostly in some kind of short-hand notation. Did someone orchestrate the work?

  • Nadine Weissmann says:

    It won’t be staged, this is a concert performance (as stated in the text) of the first act, opening the concert season of the Staatskapelle Weimar.

  • Furzwängler says:

    Wonderful news for all Lisztians. I’m awaiting those “adventurous harmonic turns and side-steps” with great interest.

  • barry guerrero says:

    Now this is interesting news. Since I can’t get to Weimar, I’m hoping that the performance might make it on to Youtube. Better yet, maybe one of the deadbeat major labels – or adventurous minor labels – could actually record this.