The Dramatic and Musical Scheme of Kogoj's Opera »Kar hočete« ( »Twelfth Night« )

  • Borut Loparnik

Abstract

Marij Kogoj dedicated the greater part of his artistic powers to opera. Of his three plans for operatic themes (the first being France Prešeren's poem »Krst pri Savici«, the second Leonid Andrejev's drama »Black Masks«, the third Shakespeare's »Twelfth Night«) only the second was realised. The last, which he undertook in 1929 remained unfinished as in autumn 1932 he was incapacitated by schizophrenia. From the surviving material it is clear that he wrote (in the form of a piano score) the first two acts, though especially in the second there remain many gaps. He prepared the libretto himself on the basis of Shakespeare's text. From his arrangement of the action we know that the opera was to have four acts, the fourth and fifth acts of the original being combined. In shortening and combining original scenes and in the abridgement of the original text he displayed an outstanding knowledge of the stage and its rules. He located the action of the comedy on the Adriatic coast and made use of a number of Slovene folksongs as well as one Istrian one, giving them rich and imaginative contrapuntal treatment, considered among the best in Slovene music and displaying the author's contemporary relation with folk-melodies and their role in musical art. In addition to this he wove into the action dances by individual actors and by a ballet ensemble, thus adding to music and text the third most important element of his works for the stage, an element of which he made rich and idiosyncratic Use also in »Black Masks«. From the point of view of style and composition technique the two acts show Kogoj developing in a new direction. In the harmonic and also party in the rhythmic structure and especially in the melodic diction, features of expressionism are most apparent. In frequent rhythmical ostinati and harmonic handling which shows a retreat from the sphere of luxuriant chromaticism and dissonant inversions of chords of the seventh, ninth and eleventh and especially in the rich contrapuntal treatment and polyphonic forms (which appears more and more frequently towards the end of the second act) Kogoj shows that »Twelfth Night« would have been the first piece of his new stylistic orientation, drawing near to neoclassicism.

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Published
1966-12-01
How to Cite
LoparnikB. (1966). The Dramatic and Musical Scheme of Kogoj’s Opera »Kar hočete« ( »Twelfth Night« ). Musicological Annual, 2(1), 77-94. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.2.1.77-94
Section
Articles