Udo Zimmermann (*1943) The Wondrous Cobbler's Wife
Opera in 2 Acts 1981 Text: Eberhard Schmidt and Udo Zimmermann
15 soloists Sp – 18.104.22.168. – 22.214.171.124. – timp.perc(2) – hp.guit – pno.cel – str / stage music: fl.guit.acc.
World premiere: Schwetzingen (Schwetzinger Festspiele), April 25, 1982
Duration: full evening
Text by the composer and Eberhard Schmidt after the drama of the same name by Federico García Lorca in the German free rendering by Enrique Beck
Place and time: In the cobbler’s house, first as workshop, then as pub
Characters: Cobbler’s Wife (soprano) - Cobbler (bassbariton) - Yellow Neighbor (soprano) - Green Neighbor (soprano) - Violet Neighbor (mezzo-soprano ) - Red Neighbor (alto) - Black Neighbor (alto) - The red Neighbor’s 2 Daughters (sopranoe) - Sexton’s Wife (mezzo-soprano) - Mayor (bass) - Boy with the sash (tenor) - Boy with hut (baritone) - Boy (composed speaking part, mezzo-soprano)
The fact that a lovely young woman has married a much older cobbler provokes all manner of gossip and unrest in the village. While the cobbler feels hurt by all the prattle, his wife creates her own world of dreams and fantasies. The only person she allows into her inner world is a little neighbor boy. Unable to bear the pressure any longer, the cobbler leaves the village. His wife then opens up a pub in the workshop. although she inwardly resigns herself to her fate, she remains faithful to her husband but does not recognize him when he returns to the village disguised as a puppet-master. When a knifing occurs and the villagers are about to vent their rage on the cobbler’s wife, she confesses to the puppet-master that she loves her husband.
Overcome by this avowal, the cobbler reveals his true identity and the two spouses embrace. The villagers, however, are still enraged ... As a reminiscence of the spirit of Spanish music which was clearly enjoyed by Lorca as well, Udo Zimmermann has incorporated quotes from folk music and even a melody in the style of the Andalusian folk dance "zorongo” written by Lorca himself. Leaving a very visible mark on the entire work is the "canto jondo”, which is an intonation from Andalusia that constantly shifts between the major and minor modes and never ends in the tonic.
Lisbeth Balslev (soprano), Franz Grundheber (baritone), Udo Krekov (bass), Hildegund Uhrmacher (soprano), Yoko Kawahara (soprano), Gertrud von Ottenthal (mezzo-soprano), Olive Fredericks (alto), Ursula Boese (alto), Cedric Rosstauscher (boys-mezzo), Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, cond. Peter Gülke
CD BMG 74321 73543 2