C’est La Guerre

 

On the basis of the one-act opera C'est la guerre alone, Emil Petrovics (born in 1930 in Belgrade, and a pupil of Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas) deserves to be a household name. Every bar of this carefully compacted, fiercely dramatic work takes it straight to the top of 20th century Hungarian opera, holding its own alongside Bartók's Blue...

 

On the basis of the one-act opera C'est la guerre alone, Emil Petrovics (born in 1930 in Belgrade, and a pupil of Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas) deserves to be a household name. Every bar of this carefully compacted, fiercely dramatic work takes it straight to the top of 20th century Hungarian opera, holding its own alongside Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle and that other neglected gem, Szokolay's Blood Wedding.

Written byMiklós Hubay, C'est la guerre was first broadcasted on Hungarian radio in 1961, just as repression started easing five years after the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It was staged in Budapest a year later. It's aptly named, for its immediate, unflinching launch in medias res feel has the distinct melodramatic feel of Zimmermann's Die Soldaten or Berg's Wozzeck; Petrovics himself uses dodecaphony, but with all the ease and nervy approachability of Berg or Ernst Krenek.

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