The Ring of Polykrates
A loving wife. A job promotion. An inheritance. With such a perfect life, how can things possibly go wrong? In The Ring of Polykrates, William Arndt is about to discover just how quickly the tables can turn. The return of his best friend, Peter, should be the icing on the cake for William’s life, but Peter clearly has other plans in mind. Peter’s jealousy is a worthy adversary to William’s marriage, but only one can win. In this rarely performed domestic comedy by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the stakes are high and sacrifices must be made. Paired with a performance of Korngold’s magnificent Violin Concerto in D major, featuring acclaimed violinist Augustin Dumay, the evening will be a celebration of a genius who is not performed nearly enough.
Starring Augustin Dumay* • Paul Groves* • Laura Wilde* • Brenton Ryan • Susannah Biller* • Craig Colclough*
Conductor Emmanuel Villaume • Director Peter Kazaras • Costume Designer Tommy Bourgeois • Set Designer TBD • Lighting Designer Krista Billings
*Dallas Opera debut
A happily married young couple are put ‘on trial’ by an old friend whose lack of success, financially and domestically, contrasts sharply with the couple’s situation. The friend tells the husband about Polykrates, a successful man who, to avert the gods’ envy, sacrificed his dearest possession – his ring. The husband discovers that his wife once loved the friend, though more out of pity than desire, and she still wears his ring. When she hurls it out of the window the friend catches it and returns it. The jewel is restored, so the couple’s only sacrifice can be their friend. He leaves and the couple sit down to read together.
Concise and melodic, Der Ring Der Polykrates confirmed Korngold’s natural feeling for the theater. The late-Romantic musical language has obvious debts to Wagner’s chromaticism and to Richard Strauss’s tone-colors, while the use of unifying motifs as an important part of the work’s structure was surely an element Korngold learned from his teacher Zemlinsky. But there are also many individual passages, among the best of which is the aria “Kann’s nicht heute fassen’ sung by the wife to the accompaniment of muted strings, celesta, harp, and flute.