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Musical notes

Mahler strived for the Wagnerian ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk—opera as a total work of art. The Kirov failed to attain this at Covent Garden

By Stephen Everson   September 2005

The return of the conductor-director One of the many virtues of Henri-Louis de La Grange’s monumental—and in its revised English edition, as yet unfinished—biography of Mahler is that in his detailed account of the composer’s work as the director of the Vienna Opera, he reminds us of his importance to the history of operatic performance. Mahler was director of the Vienna Opera from 1897 to 1907, but the crucial period of his achievement was from 1903 when he enlisted the painter Alfred Roller to collaborate with him as his set designer. For both men, the goal of operatic production was…

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