The USA of the »Roaring Twenties« can be enjoyed up close when Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s internationally acclaimed novel »The Great Gatsby« comes to the operatic stage with a score by the contemporary American composer John Harbison. The opera blends modern classical music with jazz and swing to paint a thrilling portrait of a debauched and decadent society, where double standards clash with idealism. European audiences can now enjoy this work for the first time.
Scene 1: At the Buchanan’s, East Egg, Long Island, New York
Nick Carraway is paying a visit to his distant cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan. Jordan Baker is also present. Daisy wants to pair her up with Nick. One detail in their conversation seems to make Daisy nervous: the mention of Gatsby’s name. Jordan is informing Nick that Tom has a mistress in New York. Daisy is dreaming herself back into the world of her youth.
Scene 2: In Wilson’s Garage, Valley of Ashes
Behind George Wilson’s back, Tom is introducing his lover Myrtle to his acquaintance Nick; she is the garage owner’s wife. Deeply embarrassed, Nick has to watch Tom mistreating his girlfriend, since he felt provoked by her.
Scene 3: At Gatsby’s, West Egg, Long Island, New York
At Gatsby’s party, Nick and Jordan are conjecturing about the identity of the host. Nick is getting into a conversation with a man who is unknown to him: it is Gatsby. An arcane guest, Wolfshiem, urges Gatsby to take care of his businesses immediately. Gatsby asks Nick to arrange a date with Daisy for him. Later Gatsby’s longing look is wandering across the bay towards a green light near Daisy’s house which calls back memories of their bygone love for each other.
Scene 4: At Nick Carraway’s, West Egg, Long Island, New York
Jordan is enlightening Nick about Gatsby’s and Daisy’s love story which was finished with his recruitment in the war and her wedding with Tom. After many years both meet again through Nick’s mediation. It seems as if their love would rekindle.
Scene 1: At Gatsby’s
Rumours about Gatsby’s past are going around at another party. Among the guests are also Daisy and her husband, who is being introduced to Gatsby. Tom, distracted by Nick, does not notice Daisy and Gatsby dreaming of repeating their history. Tom discovers them. Cynical he invites Gatsby to his house.
Scene 2: At the Buchanan’s
Daisy and Jordan are complaining about the summer heat. The situation is becoming even more oppressive when Daisy, unconcealed before Tom’s eyes, starts to flirt with Gatsby. When the company sets off for New York, the situation seems to ease again. However, after Daisy and Gatsby have left the house, Tom gives free rein to his jealous rage.
Scene 3: In a suite in the Plaza Hotel, Manhatten, New York
Gatsby is being provoked by Tom, until he confronts the other with his feelings for Daisy and claims a shared life with her. Being torn apart between the two men, Daisy finally decides for her husband Tom. Triumphantly but at the same time contemptuously he commands Daisy to drive home together with Gatsby in his car.
Scene 4: In Wilsons’s Garage
Myrtle is being desperate about the fact that Tom, her lover, does not come to see her again. Her husband is putting her in her place. A car is approaching. Myrtle believes to recognise Tom in it, runs onto the road, is knocked down by the car and dies. Tom, arriving shortly after the accident, conjectures that the absconding accident vehicle must have been Gatsby’s car. Wilson is determined to take revenge.
Scene 5: At Gatsby’s
Nick is facing Gatsby with the news that Myrtle Wilson had been killed in a car accident. However, he is taken aback by Gatsby’s information that instead of himself Daisy was driving the car, but that he is going to pretend to have been the driver. Gatsby is still hoping for a shared future with Daisy. Wilson appears, first he kills Gatsby and after that himself.
Scene 6: At Gatsby’s
Jordan and Nick are meeting before Gatsby’s funeral. Only a single guest turns up: the decedent’s father. Voices of a company in party mood are moving on as there will be no party at Gatsby’s.
Realisation Set Design
Radio Singer / Band Vocalist
Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden
LBBW Sachsen Bank