Weill’s second opera premiered under Erich Kleiber in Berlin on his 27th birthday, 2 March 1927. Two years later, after a production in Essen, the orchestral score and parts disappeared; they have never been found. The score has since been reconstructed by the late Gunther Schuller. No doubt the loss of Weill’s original has discouraged companies from performing Royal Palace, but Opéra Montpellier takes up the one-act opera this summer on a double bill with Puccini’s Il tabarro. The selection of resident director Marie-Ève Signeyrole, best known for her cinematic work, to lead the production is most appropriate, because Royal Palace is one of the first operas to incorporate film.
The surrealist poet Iwan Goll provided the libretto of Royal Palace, which is sung in German. Set in a luxury hotel, the opera tells the story of world-weary socialite Dejanira, who is pursued by three men, each of whom attempts to win her with visions of love, riches, or natural beauty. Weill and Goll portrayed the visions through an extended film sequence and an Orphic dance.
The company is presenting related events to go with the performances: Weill scholar Pascal Huynh leads a conference on 9 June, the day before the opening; and the theater offers a “Matinée musicologique” on Saturday, 11 June.
Production preview (video)
Discussion with Marie-Ève Signeyrole
Learn more about Royal Palace
Rehearsal photo from Royal Palace