The Good Soldier Schweik
Composer: Robert Kurka
Librettist: Lewis Allan
Other Artistic Personnel: Carmen Capalbo (Stage Director)
Julius Rudel (Conductor)
Andreas Nomikos (Set Designer)
Ruth Morley (Costume Designer)
Original Cast: George Irving (A Gentleman from Bohemia)
Norman Kelley (Joseph Schweik)
Mary LeSawyer (Mrs. Muller)
Chester Watson (Palivec)
Jack De Lon (Bretschneider)
Ruth Hobart (Baroness Von Botzenhelm)
David Hatkinson (Lieut. Henry Lukash)
Helen Baisley (Katy Wendler)
Premiere Date: April 23, 1958
Producing Company: New York City Opera
Description: A biting satire on the stupidity of war. Schweik is a simple-minded yet clever and enduring anti-hero-a Wozzeck with a sense of humor. The action takes place just prior to, and during, the first days of World War I in Prague and en route to, and at, the Austrian-Hungarian border. The cheerfully innocent Schweik is put in a variety of scenes of civilian and army life in World War I. Rejected from the army for being simple-minded, he earns his living stealing dogs and selling them as purebreds. Following the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Schweik is arrested for his political remarks and, because of his odd behavior, sent to an insane asylum. Despite wanting to stay, he is discharged. He returns to his apartment, only to find an army induction notice. Because of his rheumatism, he has his cleaning lady bring him to the induction center by pushing him in a wheelchair. Sent to the army hospital, he is mocked by the other patients. He soon hears the call to become the chaplain's orderly when he is instantly "lost" to Lt. Lukash in a poker game as the chaplain uses him as a wager. Schweik runs afoul of a colonel, who sends him to the front. After some misadventures, he is given the task of delivering the Lieutenant's love letter to a young married woman. He gives the note to the husband instead, and a riot breaks loose. Finally at the front, he is ordered to examine a bivouac area, but, abandoning his gun, he wanders off in the opposite direction.
Character List (Major): 6 Baritones, 3 Basses, Countertenor, 2 Sopranos, 8 Tenors
Reviews: Opera News, 7-80, p. 34; Opera, 8-80, p. 781; Opera News, 9-81; p. 50; Musical America, 8-85, p. 18; The New York Times, Raymond Ericson, 2-12-66; The Washington Post, Joseph McLellan, 3-24-93; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 11-29-67.
Length: 01:43
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: Men's Chorus and SATB Chorus
Orchestration: 1fl(picc), 1 ob(Eng Hrn), 1 cl(bcl), 1 bsn - 3 hrn, 2 tpt, 1 tbn - timp, snare dm (no str)
Ballet/Dance: 1 Dancer, 1 Pantomimist
Musical Style: Often compared to Kurt Weill; references to popular musical idioms (dances, marches, ballads), with some dissonance and brittle rhythms; strong syncopations, traditional jazz patterns, and relentless ostinati. The vocal lines are narrow and often con
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-254-2100
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Good Soldier Schweik (Kurka)
Saturday, January 23, 2010 - Long Beach Opera
The Good Soldier Schweik (Kurka)
Friday, January 16, 2004 - University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
The Good Soldier Schweik (Kurka)
Saturday, July 26, 2003 - Glimmerglass Festival
The Good Soldier Schweik (Kurka)
Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - Chicago Opera Theater
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