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Opera about the murderous plot against Kleopatra is revived on a new release

Kleopatra (Elsebeth Dreisig) © Kåre Viemose

Opera about the murderous plot against Kleopatra is revived on a new release

For the first time in Denmark in 122 years, the Danish National Opera put August Enna’s successful opera Kleopatra on its programme in 2019. The opera will be released on 16 October in the first recording ever.

New release
12 October 2020

Treason, desire and murder is served on a silver platter of glorious Romantic music from 1894 in this world premiere recording of August Enna's stirring opera about the murderous plot against Kleopatra, fabled Queen of the Nile.

The beautiful melodies, alluring harmonies and tense leitmotifs are recorded by the Danish National Opera and Odense Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Joachim Gustafsson.

Neglected composer in Danish musical history

August Enna (1859-1939) was Denmark’s most famous composer of operas on the international scene in the 1890s. The opera Kleopatra was performed at various international venues with great success: Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Breslau, Riga, Zürich, Antwerp, Rotterdam, The Hague – and in 1897 alone it was performed no less than 50 times at the opera house in Amsterdam.

In Denmark, the opera was performed more than 20 times at The Royal Theatre – for the last time in 1897. Since then both Kleopatra and August Enna’s other works have been more or less forgotten in a Danish musical life in which the late-Romantic style no longer produced any sympathetic response.

First Danish production for 122 years

It was not until Director of Opera Philipp Kochheim put Kleopatra on the repertoire of the Danish National Opera that the opera could once more be heard in the composer’s home country – for the first time in 122 years.

The production of the dramatic opera, in which Prince Harmaki (Magnus Vigilius), disguised as an interpreter of dreams, enters Queen Kleopatra’s (Elsebeth Dreisig) palace in order to murder her was given a positive reception by the Danish reviewers. Berlingske called it "One of the year’s really great finds", while Politiken wrote that "The result sounds magnificent. The music is Wagnerian, but in a light, airy way. Magnus Vigilius as Harmaki was everything one could possibly dream of."

The Danish National Opera rediscovers Danish operas

With the staging of August Enna’s Kleopatra in 2019, the Danish National Opera began The Danish Series of fogotten operas, which opens up the richness of Danish musical history and focuses on forgotten or neglected works from the Danish opera repertoire. The series continues this season with its production of Poul Schierbeck’s Fête Galante, which was released by Dacapo in 2013 in a recording by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Schønwandt.

  • August Enna