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Details of Wozzeck and the Ticket Luck value
Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg (1885-1935). It was composed between 1914 and 1922 and first performed in 1925. Since then it has established a solid place for itself in the mainstream operatic tradition, and modern productions are consistently sold out. Though its musical style is challenging, the quality of Berg's work amply repays repeated listening. Although a typical performance takes only slightly over an hour and a half, it is nevertheless an intense experience. The subject matter the inevitability of hardship and exploitation for the poor is brutal and uncompromisingly presented. Though Berg's musical style is not as violent as some other composers might have written for this story, the style suits the subject matter.
Wozzeck is based on the drama Woyzeck left incomplete by the German playwright Georg Buchner at his death. Berg attended the first production in Vienna of Buchner's play and knew at once that he wanted to base an opera on it. From the fragments of unordered scenes left by Buchner, Berg selected fifteen to form a compact structure of three acts with five scenes each. He adapted the libretto himself.Though Berg began work on the opera in 1914, it was not until he was on leave from his regiment towards the end of World War I that he was able to devote his full attention to it, completing the opera in April 1922.
Erich Kleiber conducted the world premiere at the Berlin State Opera on December 14, 1925. It quickly became so well established in the collection of the major European opera houses that Berg found he was able to live a comfortable life off the royalties. He spent a good deal of his time through the 1920s and 30s travelling to attend performances and to give talks about the opera. At Berg's death, his fellow pupil Anton Webern noted in a letter to their teacher, Arnold Schoenberg, how tragic it was that the most renowned of their trio was the first to die. That fame had come predominantly from the success of this opera.
Wozzeck is generally regarded as the first opera produced in the 20th century avant garde style and is also one of the most famous examples of employing atonality. Berg was following in the footsteps of his teacher, Arnold Schoenberg, by using free atonality to express emotions and even the thought processes of the characters on the stage. Not only was the expression of madness and alienation possible with atonal music, the greater themes of love and humanity and the striving of ordinary people for dignity in the face of abuse and brutality are wonderfully portrayed in Berg's music. Such is Berg's skillful observation of real life that he is able to convey pictures of the ordinary or the mundane. For these sections he drew on the style of popular folksong, using its rhythmic and melodic patterns in combination with his own harmonic and structural innovations.
Berg uses a variety of musical techniques to create unity and coherence in the opera. The first is the use of leitmotifs. Wozzeck is clearly associated with two motifs, one often heard as he rushes on or off stage, the other more languidly expressing his misery and helplessness in the face of the pressures he experiences. A motif that is not explicitly linked with a physical object would be the pair of chords that are used to close each of the three acts, used in an oscillating repetition until they almost blur into one another.