Richard Wagner: Männerlist größer als Frauenlist
Wagner, Richard x Brown, James Francis
Two complete numbers from an early comic opera by Wagner that were discovered in 1994. Published here for the first time, this full orchestral score also features an essay (in English and German) by Barry Millington.
As Millington says in The Wagner Journal (vol.1 No 3 - Happy Families: A Wagner Singspiel Rediscovered):
“The likelihood of previously unknown music of Wagner’s coming to light over a century after his death might be thought remote. Yet that is exactly what happened in the summer of 1994, when sketches for Wagner’s youthful comic opera Männerlist größer als Frauenlist oder Die glückliche Bärenfamilie (Men are more Cunning than Women, or The Happy Bear Family), WWV48, previously thought to be irretrievably lost, surfaced in a private collection. Männerlist, which dates from 1838 - in other words immediately prior to Rienzi and Der fliegende Holländer - was to have been an opera in the light French style. Why was Wagner contemplating writing an opera in what was surely an antipathetic style to him? What would it have sounded like? And why did he abandon it?”
In the autumn of 2006, Millington gave the sketches to James Francis Brown to see if it might be possible to bring them to life. The Royal Opera House became interested in the project and when it seemed clear that the material was indeed suitable for reconstruction James Francis Brown was commissioned to transcribe, realise and orchestrate the sketches. A date was set for a Wagner premiere!
Chamber Orchestra, Soprano, Tenor, Chorus