Monday, August 12, 2013

Krauss, Orff, Hartmann And Kugler

Clemens Krauss, Carl Orff, Rudolf Hartmann and Josef Kugler in Munich in 1939, while the premiere of Orff’s opera, “Der Mond”, was in preparation.

Krauss and Orff are known to all.

Hartmann was Chief Of Productions at the Bavarian State Opera from 1938 to 1944, overlapping the period in which Krauss was Chief Conductor at the theater. Hartmann returned to lead the company as Intendant from 1953 to 1967. After retiring from the theater, Hartmann authored a well-respected book on the staging of Richard Strauss operas; more than thirty years after its initial publication, the book remains in print—and is essential reading for opera aficionados. In 2003, my brother and I attended, purely by chance, a splendid exhibition devoted to Hartmann in one of Munich’s many museums. The exhibition occurred fifteen years after Hartmann’s death, fifty years after Hartmann first took the helm of the Bavarian State Opera, and sixty-five years after Hartmann first became associated with the company. Hartmann was a learned, accomplished, fascinating man. Persons of his quality no longer lead theaters, within Germany or elsewhere.

In 1939, Kugler was Chorus Master at the Bavarian State Opera. Kugler continued in the post for many years—he was still Chorus Master when Eugen Jochum made his celebrated Orff recordings in Munich in the 1950s.

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