Music theatre Radio opera 1953 1993

The End of a World (Das Ende einer Welt)

Radio opera in two acts with prologue and epilogue

Commissioned by the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk Hamburg

Libretto by Wolfgang Hildesheimer

Year of composition 1953
Revised version 1993
Duration 40 minutes

Dedicated to Ernst Schnabel

World premiere

First transmission 4. december 1953

Hamburg

Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk · Orchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks

Production Curt Reiss
Conductor Harry Hermann Spitz

Comment

Hildesheimer’s “loveless legend” of a house concert on the imaginary island of S. Ame- rigo, its sinking and the resulting demise of a handful of hypocritical cultural operators and snobs, was originally conceived as a radio opera. Numerous electronic effects are called for, most of which could not be rea- lized when the piece was written. Today, however, they do not pose a problem, and offer considerable potential for the imagina- tion of performers and technicians. The piece can be performed both on radio, and in concert form, making full use of all the surreal electronic effects to be found in the score.

Hans Werner Henze

Cast

Signora Sgambatisoprano leggeroastrologer
Marchesa Montetristocontralto
Herr Fallerslebentenore
Dombrowskatenore a multi-talent
Professor Kuntz-Sartori baritonopolitician
Golchbassoman of culture
parte parlata an announcer (female)
parte parlata the narrator
coro mistochorus of guests

Instrumentation

1 Flauto dolce
1 Flauto
1 Ocarina soprano e contralto
1 Fagotto
4 Trombe jazz
4 Tromboni jazz
Timpani
PercussionePiatti sospesi
Tamtam
Tamburo piccolo
2 Tomtom
Grancassa
Claves
Maracas
Glockenspiel
Xilofono
Vibrafono
Campane tubolari
3 Clacsoni
Campana di battello
Sirena di battello
Apparecchi morse
[per 4]
Arpa
Pianoforte
Armonio
Fisarmonica
Clavicembalo
Mandolino
Chitarra con amplificatore
Archi per lo più soli
3 Nastri magnetici