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A Florentine Tragedy, Zemlinsky’s one-act opera, oozes private agendas: on one hand he was obsessed with Mahler’s unfaithful wife Alma, on the other he wanted to emulate Strauss’s success with Salome, with its equally lurid subject matter.
The outcome was a gory tale of illicit love, portrayed in sumptuous orchestral colours, its intensity barely contained until the denouement.
Recorded live in concert, Jurowski’s performance makes a thrilling appeal to the imagination, abetted by visceral contributions from the three soloists – Heike Wessels, Sergey Skorokhodov and Albert Dohmen.
The Maeterlinck Songs, with mezzo Petra Lang, are not quite on the same level.
A Florentine Tragedy/Six Maeterlinck Songs
(London Philharmonic Orchestra)