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New Production of Arnold Schönberg's Erwartung Performed at the Teatro Real in Madrid

Mar. 06, 2024

On March 17-28, the Teatro Real Madrid will present Arnold Schönberg's thrilling monodrama, Erwartung ("Expectation") in a new production conducted by Jérémie Rhorer with stage direction by Christof Loy. Malin Byström sings the Woman. Erwatung will be performed alongside Poulenc's La Voix Humaine and a new monologue, Silencio ("Silence"), composed and performed by Rossy de Palma and Christof Loy based on texts by Oscar Wilde, Bertolt Brecht, Rossy de Palma, and others.

Alexander Zemlinsky shared an insightful practical introduction to Erwartung based on his own experience rehearsing the work (excerpted from Pult und Taktstock, March/April 1927 issue).

"In my experience, the most difficult work is past when two artists, a singer and a conductor, convinced of the great value of this piece, devote themselves entirely to learning it until it is completely successful: the conductor, not burdened by any interests his boss might have, jokes along with the orchestra during rehearsals, and the singer, who – apart from having a beautiful voice (and the role absolutely must be sung beautifully) – must be capable of strong dramatic presentation. The most difficult hurdle is overcome when these requirements are met well enough. The orchestra part is not much more difficult than other modern works, and it has the advantage of virtually sounding “by itself,” so wonderfully is it scored."

In addition to the original version for soprano and orchestra, versions of Erwartung for medium voice and orchestra and soprano and chamber ensemble are also available.

Jessye Norman sings "Da kommt ein Licht" from Schönberg's Erwartung

To learn more about Arnold Schönberg, visit, and read "On the 150th Birthday of Arnold Schönberg" by Universal Edition here.

Arnold Schönberg
Erwartung, Op. 17 (1909)
monodrama in one act
for soprano and orchestra