The University of Chicago and Folks Operetta to Present the Korngold Festival

The festival, with the theme of Korngold Rediscovered, will take place April 1–10 at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

By: Feb. 21, 2022
The University of Chicago and Folks Operetta to Present the Korngold Festival

The University of Chicago and Folks Operetta have announced the Korngold Festival, celebrating and exploring the life and music of one of the 20th century's most successful yet underrecognized composers, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The festival, with the theme of Korngold Rediscovered, will take place April 1-10 at the University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street. Live performances include Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. James Ehnes (violin) and Orion Weiss (piano); Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. Folks Operetta-Korngold in Song; Wednesday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. to Friday, April 8, at 5 p.m. Korngold Symposium; Thursday, April 7, and Saturday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. Folks Operetta's American premiere of Korngold's opera, Die Kathrin; Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m. screening of the film, The Adventures of Robin Hood; Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m., Quatuor Diotima. To reserve tickets for individual events please visit "Concerts and Events" at

"The festival will be a rare opportunity to explore, through scholarship and performances, one of the 20th Century's most unjustly neglected composers and a potent reminder of all that is lost in a world of intolerance and indifference," said Gerald Frantzen, co-founder of Folks Operetta.

"The Korngold Festival gathers an extraordinary collection of international scholars and musicians at the University of Chicago to explore the history of Jewish exile from the artistic worlds of Europe to North America during the Shoah and World War II," said Philip V. Bohlman, the Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Chicago. "The imaginative and prolific composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold is emblematic of those who permanently transformed American cinema and film music."

Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m.-James Ehnes and Orion Weiss

Combining effortless virtuosity with steadfast musicality, violinist James Ehnes is joined by pianist Orion Weiss in a program of many violin and piano repertoire favorites, including Korngold's Much Ado About Nothing suite, Tanzlied from one of Korngold's most beloved operas, Die tote Stadt and other works by Mozart, Schubert, Kreisler, John Williams and James Newton Howard.

Supported by Eva F. Lichtenberg.

Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. -Folks Operetta - Korngold in Song

Folks Operetta's Korngold in Song concert explores Korngold's work in art song and operetta. From an early age, Korngold was a prolific composer of lieder. With his keen sense of melody and his affinity for setting poetic text, he was a master of the genre. Korngold also devoted significant time and effort to his orchestrations of operettas by Johann Strauss Jr. and Leo Fall. He is often cited as re-invigorating operetta after the First World War. This concert will feature the song cycles, So Gott und Papa will; Lieder des Abschieds, op. 14; and Sechs einfache Lieder, op. 9; as well as some of Korngold's little-known work in the field of operetta, including selections from Die Stumme Serenade, Rosen aus Florida and Die geschiedene Frau; the rarely heard Prayer, op. 32; and song selections from some of his film scores. Featured soloists include baritone Matthew Caroll, soprano Katherine Petersen and pianist Anatoliy Torchinskiy. Other performers include soprano Alison Kelly, baritone William Roberts, tenor Gerald Frantzen and a small chamber ensemble conducted by Anthony Barrese.

Wednesday, April 6 - Friday, April 8 • Visit website to see full programing

Korngold Symposium

The Korngold Symposium complements the American premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's 1937 opera, Die Kathrin, at the University of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts by opening new avenues for interpreting the compositional oeuvre of this great American composer and for contextualizing European and American film and music before, during and after the Shoah as means of understanding modern cultural history. The Symposium speakers, both guest speakers and those from the University of Chicago, represent different departments and disciplines. We are pleased to announce the distinguished scholar has accepted the invitation to deliver keynote address: Ruth HaCohen, the Artur Rubinstein professor of musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Visiting Greenberg professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago. The Humanities Division Ensemble-in-Residence, the New Budapest Orpheum Society, will present workshops and a concert to enhance the presence of performance in the Symposium.

Thursday, April 7 and Saturday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. -Folks Operetta-

Die Kathrin

The American premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's last opera, Die Kathrin, is performed by Folks Operetta in a semi-staged production. Directed by Elizabeth Margolius; 64-piece orchestra conducted by Anthony Barrese; projection design by Rasean Davonte Johnson; lighting design by Charles Cooper and Chorus master Christopher Owen. Soprano Ann Toomey, tenor Corey Bix, baritone Mark Delevan;and soprano Stacey Tappan lead the all-star cast.

Written at the height of Korngold's creative powers, Die Kathrin is a story of perseverance and the unending power of love. Korngold started writing the score in 1933, during a period when he was re-orchestrating the operettas of Johann Strauss Jr. and Leo Fall. Die Kathrin was scheduled for its first performance in Vienna in 1938. However, with the changing political climate, it became clear that the show, with its love story between a German woman and a Belgian soldier in the occupied Rhineland, would not be acceptable to Nazi censors. Die Kathrin's lush and romantic score contains some of Korngold's finest music. The opera is compelling and masterfully written but has rarely been performed.

Friday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.-"The Adventures of Robin Hood" film

The 1938 film, "The Adventures of Robin Hood," presented in a rare archival print by the Film Studies Center, provides a remarkable complement for the performances of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's 1937 opera, Die Kathrin, the American premiere that is the centerpiece of the Korngold Festival. This film was the first to realize the full dimensions of the epic movie that Hollywood films would in many ways define. The all-star cast including Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains appear larger than life and is shot in technicolor, moving through the sonic landscape of Korngold's richly orchestrated composition, for which he received the 1938 Academy Award for best dramatic score in a film. For Korngold, "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and Die Kathrin together symbolized the passage from the impending crisis in Vienna to that of the New World. Print courtesy of the George Eastman Museum and lent by an anonymous collector.

Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m.-Quatuor Diotima

French string quartet Quatuor Diotima, known for casting a new light on both masterpieces of the quartet canon and contemporary additions to the genre, presents one of Korngold's lesser-known pieces, his third string quartet, alongside other hidden gems of the string quartet repertoire, including Zemlinsky's First Quartet and Brahms's Second. Quatuor Diotima serves as the 2021-22 Don Michael Randel Ensemble-in-Residence.

Supported by the Jazz & New Music program of FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. Presented in partnership with the France Chicago Center.


A child prodigy and the son of an important Viennese music critic, Erich Wolfgang Korngold was considered the heir to the Viennese Romantic tradition. He first came to the attention of the Viennese public with his ballet, "Der Schneemann" (The Snowman), which he composed at the age of 11. Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Giacomo Puccini and other notable musical figures of the time were impressed with his exceptional abilities. Korngold burst onto the world stage in 1920 with his opera Die Tote Stadt, written at the tender age of 19. More operas and other compositions followed. In 1934, he was invited by Max Reinhardt to compose the score for the movie "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Hollywood. During the next few years, he became one of the most successful film composers of all time, dividing his time between Hollywood and Vienna. In 1938, he went to Hollywood to work on the film score for "The Adventures of Robin Hood." After his arrival, he received the news of the impending Austrian Anschluss. Korngold was compelled to remain in Hollywood. His family, including his father, barely escaped Austria before the borders were closed. He vowed not to write any music for the concert hall until after Hitler was defeated. His postwar compositions met with only moderate success; although his lush, late-romantic idiom was ideally suited for film scores, it was considered old-fashioned by concert audiences and critics. Today, some 60 years after his death, Korngold's work is ripe for reassessment.


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