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Tod Machover, the composer behind Schoenberg in Hollywood, wrote this fascinating and insightful note for the program book of the opera's World Premiere production with Boston Lyric Opera. Read on to learn more about Machover's inspiration, process, and the personal meaning behind this new work.
When crisis hit Boston Lyric Opera, Karole Armitage did not need to step forward as a first responder – she was already on the scene and involved in the Company’s forthcoming World Premiere production of Tod Machover’s Schoenberg in Hollywood.
Schoenberg flourished in the rich soil of Vienna at the turn of the 20th century…a loam full of nutrients such as Freud, Mahler, Schnitzler, but also deeply laced with the toxic wastes of anti-Semitism, virulent nationalism, and rabid conservatism. Surrounded by artists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka, the young composer even seriously considered a career as a painter. This aspect of a protean talent (he was also a renowned teacher, critic, and an important writer on music theory) opens new and revelatory insights into the complexities of this iconic creator.