Series I, Volume 1: Der Protagonist (2006)Back to all works
382 pp (main volume)
57 pp (critical report)
Ein Akt Oper
Musik von Kurt Weill
Text von Georg Kaiser
Edited by Gunther Diehl and Jürgen Selk
Completed in Berlin in March 1925 and given its premiere at the Dresden Staatsoper in March 1926, Der Protagonist occupies a special place in Weill’s oeuvre. It was his first opera, written at age twenty-five, and it belongs to a series of early compositions that systematically explored almost every musical genre: chamber music, choral music, lieder, orchestral works, and ballet. The one-act opera is the climax of Weill’s early development and no other work is so characteristic of his early style.
With the successful premiere of the opera on 27 March 1926, conducted by the eminent Fritz Busch, Weill not only achieved a spectacular breakthrough as a composer but also immediately rose to prominence among the young composers identified at the time with the renewal of the “crisis-ridden genre” of opera.
Der Protagonist marks Weill’s first significant collaboration with another artist. Georg Kaiser (1878–1945) was an outstanding representative of expressionist drama. Along with Gerhart Hauptmann he was the most performed German playwright during the Weimar Republic, with some forty premieres of his plays.
Edited by Gunther Diehl of Wiesbaden, Germany, and Jürgen Selk (former Managing Editor of the Kurt Weill Edition), the volume publishes Weill’s orchestral score for the first time.
Der Protagonist - Introductory EssayThe Kurt Weill Edition | Series I, Volume 1
Written by the volume editor, the Introductory Essay offers a detailed history of the work from inception through composition, rehearsal, and first performance, along with further production history, while addressing larger editorial and performance issues.