Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sergio Mims: 'Jonny Spielt Auf with the Swedish/Trinidadian baritone Krister St. Hill' WHPK Dec. 7

[Krister St. Hill; Krenek: Jonny spielt auf; Decca]

Sergio Mims sends this news of his classical music program on WHPK-FM in Chicago:

"I wanted you and your readers to know that I will be broadcasting Ernst Krenek's 1927 opera Jonny Spielt Auf with the Swedish/Trinidadian baritone Krister St. Hill on my classical music radio show on WHPK-FM in Chicago on Weds Dec. 7th (12-3PM Central Time 88.5FM, and iTunes radio).” “The performance is the Decca recording with St. Hill, Alessandra Marc, Michael Kraus, Maria Posselt, Andreas Korn, Gunar Kaltofen, Roald Reinecke, Dieter Scholz; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Lothar Zagrosek, conductor."

According to the Center for Jazz Arts' website about the opera:
"A defining symbol of the earliest influence of American jazz on contemporary classical opera, Jonny Spielt Auf ('Jonny Strikes Up' The Band), by Austrian composer Ernst Krenek, premiered on February 10th, 1927, in the city of Leipzig, with jazz-infused harmonies, syncopations, and story-lines; an African-American jazz-artist hero (Jonny); interracial romantic story elements; innovative Expressionist and Bauhaus influenced stage sets; and an unconventional incorporation of modern technology into classical opera, such as telephones, radios, and automobiles. An instant sensation, Jonny Spielt Auf would eventually be translated into dozens of languages, and performed around the world."

However the work was controversial:
"For all its success in Germany and Austria, however, Jonny did not appeal to audiences in either Paris or at the Metropolitan Opera in 1929. The need to employ a white singer in black face for the title role was at least partly to blame. In Paris and at the Met, audiences were somewhat more sophisticated about authentic jazz and were less accepting of a score that offered only the trappings, but not the substance of real jazz.”

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