Love that falls victim to creative obsession and the tragic fate of a girl who, owing to her family’s poverty, becomes a prostitute are the key themes of the late-Romantic opera Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound), an almost Freudian study of the chimeric artistic ideal and the degradation of women in a heartless and indifferent world.
At the beginning of the opera, Fritz, a composer driven by the ambition to write a great piece of music and discover the mysterious perfect “distant sound”, which will bring him fame, abandons his beloved Grete. She wants to kill herself, yet the mystic beauty of nature saves her life. Ten years later, Grete is a celebrated courtesan in Venice. Fritz is among the guests at her party, and proceeds to spurn her love again. Another five years later, Grete attends the premiere of Fritz’s first opera, which goes down badly with the audience – she perceives that he is still seeking his “distant sound”. Fritz and Grete ultimately reunite, whereupon he finally hears the desired sound. Yet it is too late – before he can finish a new ending to his opera, Fritz dies in Grete’s arms.
Performed in German.